Peter Shelley Peter Shelley

Trans Tasman obvious start

The travel and tourism industries of both Australia and New Zealand should be working together to create a ‘runway’ towards reopening trans-Tasman travel, an industry webinar heard this week.

Speaking at the Tourism Temperature digital event, organised by the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ), various speakers felt the trans Tasman travel bubble could fly if the countries’ governments and health authorities also worked together to create safe and highly monitored gateways.

‘It’s absolutely on the agenda,’ says Peter Shelley, managing director of the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC). ‘I have no idea of the timing. But maybe we should work towards quarter four of 2020 – put a peg in the ground and if we need to move it we can do that.’

Shelley says the triggers for the move have not been defined but there should be the capability for both countries to provide safe experiences for customers and for those working in the industry.

‘Perhaps we need a Covid-ready check list with the appropriate criteria to let this happen.’

Justin Tighe-Umbers, executive director, Board of Airline Representatives NZ (BARNZ) says airlines are definitely thinking about this now and should be at ‘working group phase’ in two or three weeks.

‘If both countries have flattened or even squashed the curve then this might happen pre-vaccine. Our government talks about having the smartest border in the world – what an opportunity to lead on that with trans Tasman travel and hopefully the Pacific Islands as well.’


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