Put SA re­gions first – NZ ‘bub­ble’ a way off

TOURISM

The Advertiser - - NEWS - JADE GAILBERGER PO­LIT­I­CAL RE­PORTER

TOURISM Min­is­ter Simon Birm­ing­ham has ramped up calls for South Aus­tralians to hol­i­day at home when travel bans are eased.

The push comes as New Zealand Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern, pic­tured, dis­cussed a po­ten­tial “Trans-Tas­man bub­ble” with leaders at yes­ter­day’s na­tional Cabi­net.

Es­tab­lish­ing a safe-travel zone between the two na­tions would be mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial, ac­cord­ing to Scott Mor­ri­son. But the Prime Minis­ers said it was “some time away”. The de­ci­sion to open in­ter­na­tional bor­ders will be de­ter­mined by pub­lic health ad­vice, SA’s Se­na­tor Birm­ing­ham told The Ad­ver­tiser. “We en­joy close ties with our Kiwi cousins and they will con­tinue to be an im­por­tant tourism mar­ket,” he said.

“But once travel is al­lowed, I’ll be en­cour­ag­ing Aus­tralians to sup­port lo­cal tourism jobs by choos­ing to hol­i­day in amaz­ing des­ti­na­tions like South Aus­tralia.”

Premier Steven Mar­shall has made clear his in­ten­tions to re­in­state re­gional travel. later al­lowed. South Aus­tralians spent $230 million in hol­i­days to New Zealand last year.

But only three per cent, or $45 million, of to­tal New Zealand vis­i­tor spend was made in SA last year, Tourism Re­search Aus­tralia data shows.

De­spite this, SA Tourism In­dus­try Coun­cil chief Shaun de Bruyn said New Zealand was a strong mar­ket for eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity. “Many tourism busi­nesses look af­ter a lot of New Zealand vis­i­tors,” he said.

An Ade­laide Air­port spokesman said it was in talks with Air New Zealand about how its four flights a week might re­sume once re­stric­tions are lifted. Mr Mor­ri­son said re­con­nect­ing with neigh­bours was the start of the road back to global travel, and would co­in­cide with flights like Mel­bourne to Cairns.

He said “hope­fully by the end of term two hol­i­days”, peo­ple may be given the green light for travel in­ter­state.

Ms Ardern said: “When we feel com­fort­able and con­fi­dent that we both won’t re­ceive cases from Aus­tralia, but equally that we won’t ex­port them, then that will be the time to move”. Trav­ellers should not ex­pect to be forced into two-week quar­an­tine pe­ri­ods when flights restart, she said.

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