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New Zealand Foreign Minister rules out opening border as video highlights Coronavirus impact on tourism

New Zealand Foreign Minister rules out opening border as video highlights Coronavirus impact on tourism
November 13, 2020

While New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta is advising that it is still too early to decide when Australians will be allowed to travel across the Tasman Sea without having to enter quarantine on arrival, tourism businesses are campaigning for a carefully planned revival of domestic operations.

With minimal cases of community transmission in New Zealand, Australia’s border has been open to New Zealanders since last month, without need for quarantine. However, New Zealand does not reciprocate with Australians, who may struggle to exit the nation, having to quarantine for two weeks on arrival - if they are allowed out of Australia in the first place.

Advising that the New Zealand Government is still working out the best framework through which a travel bubble might be established, Foreign Minister Mahuta advised as of yesterday, “we’ve not yet made decisions.

“We are critically aware that it’s important to make sure we’ve got the right risk management framework in place as we start to open up borders.”

Video Calls for Domestic Tourism Revival
Calling for a revival of domestic cruise operations, a Christchurch tour operator is the latest to be featured in Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)’s #WeAreCruise video series, which highlights the economic impact suffered by local businesses and the 25,000 jobs that are at risk across Australasia while the cruise industry remains closed.

Mark Gilbert, owner of Hassle-free Tours, was forced to let go nearly 60 staff members due to the suspensions which continue to impact regional economies

As reported by Global Travel Media, in a video released yesterday, Gilbert talks of his experience of losing 75% of his customers that come from international cruise visitors to New Zealand.

In the video Gilbert advises “since the total ban on travel in New Zealand, we haven’t really operated at all and it has had a huge impact on our business.

“However, we are slowly seeing some coastal cruising start operating in NZ this summer which gives us hope of our industry being able to take small steps to restart.”


CLIA Australasia Managing Director, Joel Katz said cruise lines had committed to extensive new health measures to support future operations, and that it was now vital to plan for a phased and carefully controlled resumption of local cruising.

Katz commented “thousands of jobs are at risk in communities across New Zealand and Australia, including in communities where cruises are an important source of international tourism.

“While the suspension of cruising has been the right response to COVID-19, it’s important that we plan a pathway towards resumption with extensive health measures in place, so that we can restore economic opportunities to regional areas and remote communities around our coast.”

The Hassle-free Tours video is one of several to be released on social media in coming weeks as part of a campaign that aims to raise awareness and tell the personal stories of people within the Australasian cruise community.

Katz added “given New Zealand’s success in stemming the transmission of COVID-19, we see an opportunity for a controlled reintroduction of domestic cruises - restricted to New Zealand residents only and with extensive testing and screening measures in place.

“This will involve protective protocols against outside infection while borders are closed, and will create opportunities for economic revival for local businesses.”

With thanks to Peter Needham at Global Travel Media.

Image: The TSS Earnslaw cruises on Lake Wakatipu. Courtesy of Destination Queenstown.

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