‘As the surge in Covid cases in Australia has led to multiple states enduring yet more lockdowns, the decision to suspend the trans Tasman travel bubble has resulted in New Zealand travel agents calling on the government to unveil a clear plan for reopening the borders.
‘The current suspension represents yet another blow to the travel industry on both sides of the Tasman, which had begun to harbour cautiously optimistic hopes for a gradual recovery after the challenges of the last 18 months,’ reports Travel Agents Association (TAANZ) president, Brent Thomas.
The trans Tasman bubble, at this stage at least, is more useful as a trial run for opening up international borders than a significant generator of business, according to speakers at CAPA (Centre for Aviation) Live this week. Tom Manwaring, executive chairman of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) says surveys of the organisation’s 3000 agents indicate that things are ‘hardly moving’ on the tourism side.
‘The vast majority of travellers are going to stay with families and the economic impact of that is negligible. But it’s a good chance to get the processes right, do some fine tuning and work out what the next stage could be.’
Globus family of brands reports immediate interest and bookings through the trade for its Globus and Cosmos Australian tours following the announcement of the trans-Tasman bubble.
Brett Simon, head of New Zealand at GFOB, says the Red Centre, Northern Territory tour was the biggest seller on Thursday out of New Zealand, while Tasmania and West Australia’s Kimberley also continue to be popular.
The desire of Australians to open up the trans Tasman travel bubble was reiterated at the recent Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) summit in Wellington.
Margy Osmond, chief executive of the Tourism and Transport Forum Australia, also emphasised the need to stimulate visitor interest in cities while sustaining the attraction of the great outdoors.