Lynda Keene Lynda Keene

Inbounders: Visitors won’t come if quarantine required

The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) says it is clear from international feedback that vaccinated travellers will not come to this country if they have to spend time in MIQ.

Chief executive Lynda Keene says the organisation is regularly hearing of countries around the world reopening their borders to welcome back visitors with a range of settings. Common requirements include proof of full vaccination, use of a digital or paper passport to verify travel arrangements, PCR tests, rapid antigen tests, and adherence to contract tracing.

‘TECNZ will propose a similar range of border settings in the NZ International Tourism Recovery plan and highlight that with fully vaccinated visitors coming into New Zealand, no vaccination is required. Our offshore partners (international tour wholesalers and agents) have made it clear that travellers are only interested in coming to New Zealand without having to go through a quarantine period.’

Keene says it is more critical than ever that inbound tourism operators can advise international travellers when they will be welcomed back, with an indicative reopening date of Q1 2022.

‘The booking lead-in time from ITOs’ offshore partners can be anything from three months for FITs to 18 months for a group tour series. If we cannot let the world know soon that our borders will reopen in Q1 of 2022, offshore partners will simply look for other international destinations.’

She says bookings currently being held in ITOs’ systems will then move to the 2023-2024 year and the window for NZ could be lost. ‘The potential of hundreds of tourism businesses closing will become a reality.’ Keene says a survey of offshore partners shows confusion and frustration from offshore clients and agents around a lack of plan and date from New Zealand.

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