New Zealand has seen a massive increase in regional domestic accommodation bookings in the immediate aftermath of the dropping of MIQ and self-isolation rules for returning Kiwis, according to one provider.
As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 surges in Aotearoa, the Government has removed restrictions for vaccinated travellers as the greater threat of the pandemic is posed by the community rather than returnees.
New figures from the holiday home management company Bachcare show the recent reopening of borders to returning expats has seen a 330 percent increase in bookings made from Australia, with jumps of 42 percent from the UK and 44 percent from the US compared to the same period last year.
The company says there is another good bump expected in revenue soon as New Zealand will hopefully welcome back international tourists in time for the ski season.
Bachcare spokesperson Zaina Razzaq says which areas in Aotearoa are most popular for bookings varies from country to country, with the majority coming from people wanting to reconnect with friends and family reserving homes that can accommodate large groups.
"What we can see from the data is that forward bookings from overseas markets have increased significantly since changes were made to managed isolation requirements last month," says Razzaq.
"The Coromandel is the most popular area during the warmer months of March and April for the influx of Kiwis from Australia, followed by Canterbury and the Far North. For those returning home from the UK, the Coromandel and Wairarapa are the top two destinations, followed by Waiheke Island.
"Kiwis coming back from the US follow a similar pattern, with bookings picking up from February through to April. Coromandel again is the most popular, followed by the Far North and Abel Tasman."
The Government is expected to make an announcement this week about allowing foreign tourists into the country, with the travel and tourism industries eager to hear of long-awaited relief as the pandemic wanes.