The New Zealand Government has reneged on a promise that it would reopen borders and reconnect to the world in the first quarter of 2022 on the condition that the country’s population was 90% fully vaccinated, says the chair of the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ).
Scott Mehrtens who is also managing director of Leisure Time Travel, says this week’s announcement around borders was really just a tinkering of the MIQ situation for returning New Zealanders.
The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand says offshore wholesalers and agents continually question why NZ hasn’t announced a date for when international visitors can return.
‘They are perplexed. Visitors can now book travel to Australia (and most places around the world) and yet New Zealand remains closed,’ says TECNZ chief executive Lynda Keene.
Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) president Brent Thomas says the changes announced to MIQ yesterday now mean that instead of 90% of people who apply for a spot in the system being disappointed, now 80% will be.
‘It defies logic that fully vaccinated people who test negative before they come here still have to spend seven days in MIQ before being able to self isolate,’ says Thomas.
‘It is still a lolly scramble without enough lollies – business travellers still won’t be able to travel and people still won’t have the ability to reconnect with their loved ones.
The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) says it is clear from international feedback that vaccinated travellers will not come to this country if they have to spend time in MIQ.
Chief executive Lynda Keene says the organisation is regularly hearing of countries around the world reopening their borders to welcome back visitors with a range of settings. Common requirements include proof of full vaccination, use of a digital or paper passport to verify travel arrangements, PCR tests, rapid antigen tests, and adherence to contract tracing.
Brent Thomas, president of the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ), says the Government's Reconnecting New Zealanders to the World Forum, including announcements from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, had plenty of positives for travel agents.
‘We are definitely seeing a shift in terms of self isolation when retuning from low risk countries.’
Thomas says it was encouraging to hear Sir David Skegg, chair of the Strategic Covid-19 Public Health Advisory Group, talking about borders opening when all New Zealanders have had the opportunity to be vaccinated as opposed to actually being vaccinated.
Inbound tour operators have expressed a desire to collaborate more with outbound travel agents when it comes to issues around the borders.
The subject was raised during the Tourism Export Council (TEC) NZ conference in New Plymouth recently and chair Scott Mehrtens, of Leisure Time Travel, says it is clear the two sectors can work together and learn from each other.
Tourism Export Council (TEC) NZ has presented its hopes for a time line in terms of border openings.
In one of her last acts a TECNZ chair, Anna Black reiterated the organisation’s desire to have its New Zealand International Recovery Plan considered as the New Zealand Government prepares its own Tourism Transformation Plan.
The Tourism Export Council (TEC) NZ Conference wrapped up at the Devon Hotel, New Plymouth last night with a MASH themed event (possibly a fitting end to an event for an industry sector that has had a battle on its hands for the last 18 months).
The sell out conference included a trade expo for the first time, with some 90 suppliers meeting one on one for a few minutes with each of the inbound operators in attendance.
Other highlights included a function at the Govett Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre, a 50th Anniversary gala dinner at Theatre Royal, a full programme of speakers and workshops and pre and post Taranaki trade famils.
- Robyn Sarah-Mills, ANZ Nature Tours;... Robyn Sarah-Mills, ANZ Nature Tours;...
- Tony Boot, BTM and Rural... Tony Boot, BTM and Rural...
- Imke Mertens (centre), Moa Trek;... Imke Mertens (centre), Moa Trek;...
- Tim Cossar, Te Puia; Julia... Tim Cossar, Te Puia; Julia...
- Mahalee Guieysse, Visit Ruapehu; Anita... Mahalee Guieysse, Visit Ruapehu; Anita...
- Wendy van Lieshout, Active Adventures;... Wendy van Lieshout, Active Adventures;...
The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) is urging the Government to help develop a recovery plan for the sector.
TECNZ chief executive Lynda Keene says inbound tour operators have had no income since the country’s borders were closed early last year and have been the most affected sector across the international tourism industry. ‘They are hanging by a thread. We cannot understate how serious the future of NZ’s international visitor economy is. Without financial support and targeted assistance in 2021, ITOs and visitor product and experiences will be forced to close.
The Board of Airline Representatives in New Zealand (BARNZ) continues to advocate for a two-speed then three-speed approach to travel from source markets depending on their Covid risk profile.
And BARNZ executive director Justin Tighe-Umbers told the Tourism Export Council NZ Xmas Symposium this week that he is still hopeful of an open border to the Cook Islands before