Lynda Keene Lynda Keene

Inbound still has a way to go

The Tourism Export Council (TECNZ) is seeing promising signs for inbound operators but is also emphasising that there are considerable challenges still ahead.

‘The school holidays were busy from tourism operators, particularly Queenstown, with plenty of Australian visitors and domestic winter travellers / skiers. We’re also hearing of some US travellers who have arrived and are travelling around,’ says TEC chief executive Lynda Keene. ‘The main flow of international visitors won’t happen until October but it is encouraging to see a small return.’

Keene notes that some businesses are not able to operate to full capacity due to staffing levels.

‘Businesses are doing everything they can to ensure the visitor experience is meeting expectations. The return of Working Holiday Visa holders cannot come soon enough. It is hoped that when WHVs start to return in September, they’ll seek employment quickly and add to the existing workforce.’

She says there is still a long way to go for businesses to get in the black.

‘Just because the border is now open it doesn’t mean businesses are back and trading to full capacity. This will take time.

‘Balance sheet reserves and staffing levels have been eroded over the past two and a half years and it will take four to five years of trading for a business to feel any sense of comfort.’

Keene says the various global challenges we are all familiar with could affect travel patterns in our source markets.

‘Despite our international arrival forecasts currently looking more promising over the next two to three years, it will take much longer for the international tourism sector to get back on its feet.

‘If bookings in the inbound system all materialise, great – but noone is taking anything for granted.’

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