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Coronavirus travel restrictions to impact New Zealand tourism and sport

Coronavirus travel restrictions to impact New Zealand tourism and sport
March 15, 2020

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a range of regulations designed to reduce the country's risk from Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Described by Prime Minister Ardern as the "toughest in the world", the rules, introduced following a Cabinet meeting in Auckland, will require new arrivals to self-isolate for 14 days on their arrival to New Zealand and also prevents cruise ships from visiting the country until 30th June.

Announced yesterday, the unprecedented measures to fight COVID-19 are expected to have a "tectonic" impact on the local tourism industry.

Economist Cameron Bagrie said that would have a "tectonic" impact on tourism, New Zealand's biggest export-earner.

With international visitor arrivals set to evaporate, Bagrie told Stuff "this is not a small earthquake for the tourism sector ... it's about to go from hero to zero."

Accroding to Simon Cheung, Chair of the New Zealand China Tourism and Travel Association, the restrictions will "kill" the local tourism industry.

Explaining that the new rules take away "any glimmer of hope" that many in the industry had to surviving the global Coronavirus outbreak, Cheung told the New Zealand Herald "most of our businesses was down 50 to 60% since the coronavirus outbreak started, after this it is almost certain that we'll be down 100%."

He advised that many tourism related businesses had been making job cuts, but now would most certainly be considering total lay offs or even closing down.

The restrictions will also be a massive hit to Air New Zealand, which is 52% owned by the Government.

Around 41% of the airline's $6 billion annual revenue comes from international flights.

While it dominates domestic flying, it has already scaled back some domestic routes because of falling demand from business travellers.

On Monday it said it could no longer forecast its profit because of uncertainty over the future of air travel.

As of this morning Sanzaar announced the cancellation of the penultimate Super Rugby match of round seven, scheduled for this afternoon (NZT) between the Highlanders and Jaguares in Buenos Aires.

Early this morning Sanzaar, the governing body behind Super Rugby, announced that the competition will be suspended "for the foreseeable future" following the completion of this weekend's matches due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

However, the governing body have since announced the match would not go ahead and both teams would be awarded two points.

Images: The Coronavirus (top) and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (below).

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