The New Zealand Government's decision to close the trans-Tasman travel bubble for eight weeks has been overwhelmingly supported by tourism operators and those who will be directly affected by the decision.
Industry reaction has been relatively positive given the financial cost the decision will likely have, with those spoken to by Newshub playing the team game - and playing the long game to make sure the virus stays out of Aotearoa completely.
Wellington Airport's chief executive Steve Sanderson said he's not surprised at the Government's decision to suspend trans-Tasman quarantine free travel for eight weeks given its slow start and numerous pauses.
"While we all warmly welcomed the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble in April, we understand the Government wants to give Australia time to bring the outbreak under control and for both countries to further roll out their vaccine programs," he told Newshub.
Sanderson described the update on trans-Tasman travel as "cautious" with frequent closures highlighting how fragile the global pandemic situation remains.
Since April, 47,000 passengers have travelled to or from Australia through Wellington Airport, which is around 24 percent of Wellington Airport's pre-COVID-19 levels.
Comparatively, the domestic market is "booming", Sanderson said.
Overall, domestic travel averaged 87 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels from April to June, and during the July school holidays Wellington Airport experienced its busiest day in 18 months, with around 20,500 domestic seats operated on July 9.
Across the Tasman, a spokesperson for Qantas Group - which owns Qantas and Jetstar - said it would be cancelling the majority of trans-Tasman services from July 31.
"We'll maintain a small number of flights for essential travel and freight. Customers impacted by cancellations will be contacted directly and offered a number of options, including travel credits or refunds," the spokesperson said.
Customers who wish to change their date of travel can do so via the Manage My Booking feature on the Qantas website, or via the live chat on Jetstar's website.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the tourist region had been taking a cautious approach since day one of the travel bubble.
"We always knew this could happen and considering how things have been developing in Australia, the Government's decision to suspend our Trans-Tasman travel bubble is not surprising," Chadwick said.
"From a tourism perspective the bubble was a bit of a boost and very welcome – about 10 percent of visitors to Rotorua recently have been from Australia with a mix of holidaymakers and people catching up with family and friends.
"Having said that, we all understand the reality of having to now live with COVID-19. Our local businesses have certainly shown great resilience and many have been able to introduce new services and products to focus more strongly on domestic tourism," she said.
Chadwick said future bookings are looking positive and the city was busy during the recent school holidays.
Flight Centre NZ
Managing director of Flight Centre NZ David Coombes said the company had been keeping in touch with all of its customers in New Zealand and Australia.
"We had thousands of excited customers booked to travel to Australia in the next eight weeks, so it is of course a disappointment for them to not be able to see friends and family that they have been waiting so long to see or to take that much-needed holiday," he said.
"As cases escalated over the past couple of weeks, we have been keeping in touch with our customers travelling in Australia to arrange earlier flights home.
"We have also had many customers with flexible booking options contacting our Travel Experts to transfer flights to holiday in the Cook Islands or domestically as an alternative."
In a recent online survey run by Flight Centre NZ, over 57 percent of the 1350 people who responded said they would travel internationally if they could quarantine at home instead of in MIQ, with Queensland being the most desired destination out of that group.
Auckland Airport General Manager of Corporate Services Mary-Liz Tuck says the company agrees with the bubble closure.
"Auckland Airport supports any decision that protects our community from the spread of COVID-19," Tuck said.
In a statement, the airport said 312,000 people had passed through the airport travelling to or from Australia since the bubble opened on April 19.
"The recovery of international travel continues to rely on high vaccination rates both here in New Zealand and overseas," Tuck said.
"We will be ready to reopen quarantine-free travel from Australia again as soon as it is safe to do so, and we will continue to support similar travel arrangements between New Zealand and other low risk countries such as the Cook Islands."
Auckland Airport said domestic travel during the recent school holidays was at 90 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels.