Weekend Herald

Aussie, here we come

Poll shows half of Kiwis have travel plans bubbling, with many keen on a holiday across the Tasman

- Claire Trevett

If people think it’s just Australian­s coming here . . . they will be wrong.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash

New Zealanders can’t wait for the return of quarantine-free transtasma­n travel.

More than half of those surveyed in a New Zealand Herald-Kantar poll were considerin­g booking a flight to Australia in the next year.

The transtasma­n bubble starts on Monday, meaning New Zealanders will be able to go to Australia and return without having to go into quarantine — albeit with the caveat of potential quarantine if there is an outbreak of Covid-19.

Ina NZ Herald-Kantar poll, 31 per cent of people said they would consider going in the next six months — and about half of those were keen to go in the next three months.

Aucklander­s were especially keen to go. After a series of lockdowns in the city, nearly two thirds of Aucklander­s polled hoped to go to Australia in the next year, compared to 56 per cent of Wellington­ians, and 46 per cent of those in the rest of the North Island.

Overall, 54 per cent were keen to go in the next year. Only 24 per cent said they did not intend to visit Australia — it was costly for those on incomes of less than $50,000.

Air NZ has reported 5200 passengers are expected to travel on the first day of the bubble opening. Of those, 2100 will be travelling from New Zealand to Australia.

Chief executive Greg Foran said it was “day 1 of our revival”.

It will reignite one of New Zealand’s most critical destinatio­ns.

Tourism Australia data shows only 147,000 New Zealanders travelled to Australia in the year ending January 2021 — down 90 per cent from pre-Covid travel of

1.4 million in the year before that. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s warnings people need to be prepared to foot the bill to stay for longer if there is an outbreak of Covid-19 do not seem to have dampened appetite.

However, many are waiting a while; 7 per cent of those polled plan to make almost immediate use of the bubble by going in the next month.

The online poll of 1000 adult respondent­s was taken from the ConsumerLi­nk panel from April 8 to April

12 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 per cent.

The Government and tourism sector hope people come the other way — from Australia — and will keep a close eye on whether intentions become a reality.

Tourism NZ chief executive Rene de Monchy said it would focus on encouragin­g Australian­s, to try to ensure travellers went through with their intentions.

“Ease and access to travel will have a strong influence. While we know there are resilient travellers motivated to connect with friends and family or for business reasons, we anticipate that many will take a ‘wait and see approach’.”

The first people flying both ways are expected to be those visiting friends or family — but business people and holiday makers are likely to follow.

Before Covid-19, Kiwis travelling to Australia spent about $2.3 billion there each year, and Australian­s spent $2.7b here in 2019.

Tourism NZ’s modelling in April estimated the bubble would result in the rebound of tourism from Australia to 80 per cent of pre-Covid levels by January 2022. However, it could take until July 2023 for spending by all internatio­nal tourists to return to 80 per cent of pre-Covid levels.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said Tourism NZ was about to start a marketing campaign in Australia. However, he would prefer New Zealanders to spend their holiday dollars at home.

“But if people think it’s just Australian­s coming here and nothing else, they will be wrong. Of course New Zealanders are going to go to Australia as well.”

Market research in Australia commission­ed by Tourism NZ at the end of last year showed strong support for the bubble in Australia. About 20 per cent of those who were considerin­g overseas travel had New Zealand as their first preference and intended to travel within six months of the border opening: about 800,000 people.

Overall, 77 per cent of the Aussies considerin­g visiting New Zealand would come on holiday, while 46 per cent wanted to visit family and friends.

There was also high recognitio­n of NZ’s handling of Covid, with two thirds saying it improved their perception of NZ as a holiday destinatio­n.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand