‘My gut feeling is that there would be a strong demand for travel in both directions. I am sure New Zealand travel agents have a pent up demand to start selling Queensland again for example.’
He says the new environment will give Kiwis the opportunity to explore Queensland in a different way.
‘Traditionally New Zealanders fly into the Sunshine Coast or Gold Coast, stay in one hotel or resort, enjoy the sunshine and sit on the beach. Maybe now we will see an appetite to explore a bit further and that will give agents opportunities to come up with new suggestions and itineraries.’
He says the same works in the other direction, with Australians likely to embrace touring routes in New Zealand that they may not have thought about before.
‘It has been good to see New Zealand agents embrace domestic product. It shows that once a region or part of New Zealand is marketed through the larger retail networks it leads to bookings. I encourage regional tourist offices (RTOs) to use the marketing funds from government quickly and use the agency networks as an important part of generating travel.’
Guthrey says it was pleasing to see activity through New Zealand agents right from mid May, when domestic travel restrictions started to ease.
‘The start of Level 1 has added to the positive sentiment from operators too, the ski fields are looking more favourably to the season and hotels are bringing their reopenings forward. We need a regular feed of these positive stories and developments so that travel and tourism companies can have added confidence.’