Travel restrictions cause immediate hit to struggling tourism businesses

The pause in the travel bubble with Australia is having an immediate impact on hospitality and accommodation bookings, particularly in and around the South Island ski resorts, says Hospitality New Zealand.

Chief Executive Julie White says members were reporting cancellations this morning, just hours after the pause was announced late last night.

“Towns such as Queenstown and Wanaka had excellent bookings thanks to the Australian school holidays starting this weekend, but are reporting cancellations already and for some, these cancellations extend through to August.

“This is not what the industry needs right now.

“Things were looking up, and with a big dump of snow expected this weekend, businesses were geared up for a busy few weeks. This is a kick in the guts for operators.

“The Wellington Alert Level 2 extension for an additional 48 hours whilst they do more testing also comes with its costs, for the hospitality and accommodation operators in the sum of thousands”. One thing the extension of the Alert Level by 48 hours has done is activate the resurgence subsidy payment for businesses of $1500 per business and $400 per employee for up to 50 employees, so that’s one positive thing.

Events like this are killing hospitality and tourist businesses. For some it’s ruin by a thousand cuts.

“As Minister Hipkins mentioned, these COVID-19 restrictions to manage the health risk comes at a cost. These costs continue to hit the hospitality and accommodation sectors who feel these impacts immediately and takes time to recover from.

“Hospitality New Zealand understands the rationale to pause the bubble and extend the Alert Level because these are some of the Government’s tools to keep New Zealanders safe from the virus, but businesses will be hoping the Alert Level ends at midnight on Tuesday and the damage is limited.

“We appreciate we need to manage the health risk, however this comes at a cost and our sector is at the brunt on this cost.

“Events like this are killing hospitality and tourist businesses. For some it’s ruin by a thousand cuts.

“This is a further reminder to the Government, as if one should be needed, of the importance of getting everyone vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Please Minister, where is the plan on the recent ramp-up announcement? “That should be given top priority over everything else the Government is doing right now.”