The predictions are causing interest in the wider travel and tourism industry as the factors they consider obviously affect the ability to travel outbound as well. Based on a number of trends and assumptions, TEC is not envisioning travel between European nations and New Zealand to begin in earnest until February next year. The same applies to India and the United States. In correspondence sent late last week, TEC chief executive Lynda Keene reports the predictions are based on assumptions around a number of factors. These include potential Covid-19 recovery rates from source markets (as at May 2020), trends in the aviation sector and New Zealand’s strong destination health profile with Covid-19 management. Among other things, the assumptions also include trans Tasman, Asia Pacific and long haul market connectivity expectations.
‘If the trans Tasman border opens by October 2020 and Asia Pacific by Christmas, we think New Zealand can return to pre Covid annual visitors by year end March 2024.’ Keene says she is being conservative but says inbound tour operators will feel ‘a great sense of relief’ if longer haul markets are online by February next year. Along with factors such as the wage subsidy and the possible waiving of DOC concessions, most will survive into 2021 to take advantage of most markets being here for at least some of the summer season. ‘If we are not opening borders for another 18 months, that’s another story.’