‘About 56% of Australians would like to see the New Zealand border open and the Australian Government is keen. But everyone has to be comfortable,’ says Osmond. ‘I hope the New Zealand Government gives it strong consideration. We’d like to see it happen before the end of the (summer) school holidays, but that’s up to the NZ Government.’
While the TIA summit was an in-person event at Te Papa, Osmond was beamed in via a pre-recorded Zoom interview with TIA’s Ann-Marie Johnson.
Osmond says there are encouraging signs as travellers head to regions, Australian state borders open up, and domestic tourism starts to thrive.
However, she adds that the tourism sector has to be
careful to make sure governments don’t think that is the whole answer.
‘Without international borders open, the industry simply can’t recover.
‘CBDs are dying – how do we reinvent cities as destinations? They are our gateways to the rest of the country.’
Osmond says corporate travel is part of the answer. ‘The sleeper must be business travel and in many cases it supports what happens in our major cities.’
She points out that SYD-MEL and SYD-BNE are traditionally among the top two airline city pairings in the world.
‘We need to be looking at insurance for business travellers. That is critically important.’
She says travellers looking for outdoor experiences are heading to national parks in huge numbers.
‘This is bringing home the need to support the national park structure.’