Tourism Industry Aotearoa is turning up the pressure on Government to allow domestic travel at Covid-19 alert level 2, warning the alternative will put thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses at risk.
The association maintains that that New Zealanders can travel safely within the country at level 2, and adds that tourism businesses are fully committed to operating in a safe and responsible manner, leading to its calls for Government to “take a sensible and safe approach to kickstarting” the recovery.
At present, level 2 operating guidelines are being developed for sectors and individual businesses, including provisions for comprehensive contact tracing.
Individual businesses need to have track and tracing processes in place for their customers before they opened their doors, according to TIA chief executive Chris Roberts.
He added that keeping the tourism industry closed for “weeks, if not months, longer until New Zealand reached level 1” would exacerbate redundancies in the sector where job losses were already expected to hit 13,000.
“Safely reconnecting our families and communities is a social and economic necessity. Aviation, accommodation, hospitality, retail, and most recreation and tourism activities can all be operated safely under level 2,” Roberts said.
“Many tourism businesses will simply not be viable if stringent travel restrictions continue at level 2. For example, only 2000 of the 25,000 Ruapehu ski season pass holders live within 100km of the mountain.
“The level 2 guidelines specifically allow for activities like bungy jumping and kayaking tours to resume, but there’s little point opening your business if you can only have locals as customers.”
The calls come as the association released its annual Domestic Satisfaction Report, which showed that three in four New Zealand residents took an overnight domestic trip for leisure purposes in the year ending March 2020.
The research, carried out by Angus & Associates, said overall satisfaction with respondents most recent trip averaged 8.7 out of 10, with half of all travellers reporting that their experience had exceeded their expectations.
Northland, Coromandel Peninsula, Hawke’s Bay and the wider Canterbury region recorded the highest satisfaction levels.
“The next few months will be an amazing opportunity for Kiwis to experience the best New Zealand has to offer – and have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to save the livelihoods of other Kiwis,” Roberts said.
“Tourism is the most impacted sector of the economy and faces the longest recovery. We are calling on the Government to take a sensible and safe approach to kickstarting our recovery.”
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