Trans-Tasman bubble brings hope to local tourism industry

Wednesday 7 April 2021 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Economy, National


Trans-Tasman bubble brings hope to local tourism industry
An Air New Zealand Airbus A320 aircraft. 21032517

New Zealand has announced a two-way, quarantine free travel with Australia ahead of the Cook Islands in a bid to revive their tourism sector, giving some hope to the struggling local industry.

Local businesses have welcomed the announcement of trans-Tasman bubble between New Zealand and Australia, starting on April 19 (NZ time).

And they are now hoping and praying New Zealand will make way for a two-way quarantine free travel with the Cooks to allow Kiwis to visit the country.

Fletcher Melvin, the chair of the Private Sector Taskforce, says New Zealand has a lot more to gain from the trans-Tasman bubble.

According to Tourism New Zealand, prior to Covid-19, Australia was New Zealand’s largest international visitor market, accounting for almost half of all international visitor arrivals and spent $2.7 billion in 2019.

“New Zealand needs to understand we are in the same situation as they are,” Melvin said.

Liana Scott, the president of the Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council, also welcomed the trans-Tasman bubble, saying she sees positive effects on the local industry.

“In fact, I feel that the two-way bubble is enhanced by having the ability to potentially access the Australian market as well as New Zealand. The recent announcement has indicated what travel ‘rules’ can be expected depending on what potential threats may be out there, for example, the traffic light arrangement and traveller beware,” Scott, the general manager of Muri Beach Club Hotel, said.

“New Zealand has a population of 5 million and Australia 2 5million. Australia is Fiji’s biggest tourism market, and these holiday makers will be desperately looking for a safe destination to travel to, and with the Cook Islands holding its Covid-free status from the beginning, we certainly become a very appealing destination and for good reason.

“We also have a large Cook Islands community in Australia that I am sure would like to see their families.”

Prime Minister Mark Brown earlier said the government will be amending border restrictions “very soon” to allow Kiwi travelers to visit Cook Islands from May 1, 2021.

However it remains unclear if Kiwis will be permitted to return to NZ after a Raro vacation without facing any travel restrictions.

“The Cook Islands prime minister has stated publicly that we will be ready to accept visitors from the 1st may 2021. The interest of Australians travelling to us logistically is not a question I can answer, but I would imagine that if they are ticking all the boxes for travel to New Zealand, whom have been very conservative and risk adverse in their decision making, and NZ is happy to receive travel from them, then I see no reason why they would not be keen in travelling to the Cook Islands for a taste of Polynesia in their holiday plans,” Scott said.

“The demand is sure to influence those plans/the airlines and we look forward to getting back to business and have visitors experience our wonderful destination.”

While announcing the trans-Tasman bubble, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “It is fair to say trans-Tasman has been a major focus.”

“The next focus for us is opening two-way quarantine-free travel with the Cook Islands. You’ll know that we’re working towards May.”

NZ’s Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins added: “We are in discussions with the Cook Islands and Niue in particular who are very keen to have a safe travel zone with New Zealand, and the things that we’ve put in place to support the trans-Tasman safe travel zone will certainly help us.”


Gerard Condo on 09/04/2021

Hopefully once the NZ - Cook Island bubble starts and no problems occur then a similar bubble can start with Australia since the covid situation seems to be controlled and stays that way.