Hospitality Business Magazine

Cautious optimism at August 31 Alert Level changes

Tourism operators around the country are a step closer to getting back to business but most will not be able to open their doors until we reach Alert Level 2, says Tourism Industry Aotearoa.

TIA is welcoming today’s announcement – that all of Aotearoa New Zealand south of Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 from 11.59pm on Tuesday 31 August – as the first step in lifting restrictions.

Tourism will remain significantly affected by the latest lockdown for some time to come, TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.

“Inter-regional travel is not possible under Alert Level 3. Hopefully, in a week or two, some parts of the country will be back to Level 2, and safe travel can resume.

“However, Aucklanders are the biggest source of domestic visitors and while Auckland remains at a higher alert level, it severely limits how much domestic tourism activity is seen around the rest of the country.

“The reality is that domestic tourism will not be able to fully resume until all of New Zealand is at Level 2,” Mr Roberts says.

That means tourism operators could be facing a long period with little or no revenue, other than government support from the wage subsidy and resurgence payment.

“Tourism was the first industry to be affected by the pandemic and will be the last to recover. Tourism businesses face significant financial challenges in getting through the coming weeks. For many, the most useful thing they can do right now is encourage their staff, their whānau and everyone they know to get vaccinated,” Mr Roberts says.

“The higher the vaccination rate, the greater likelihood that we can get on top of this virus and enjoy the freedom to travel again.”

Stay Strong and Seek Help

South Island hospitality businesses hopeful of a move of alert levels this weekend will be disappointed by the extension of the level 4 alert level until Tuesday of next week says the Restaurant Association.

“We urge all of those hospitality businesses that are doing it hard right now, to stay strong and seek out help” said Marisa Bidois, Restaurant Association CEO.

“Our most recent feedback from members shows that whilst they largely support the Level 4 lockdown, 75 per cent of those businesses wouldn’t be financially viable after two weeks at this level.

“Equally, we have heard from several members that they had only just made their final repayments on loans from the 2020 lockdowns, so they’re devastated they’re back in that position of starting the process again.

“Most people will understand just how challenging Level 4 is for any industry that can’t work from home. For businesses owners, it means no revenue at all which is very stressful when you have bills to pay.

“Many hospo people are social people and the isolation of being at home unable to work is really tough for them right now so we know how many of them are just looking forward to firing up their ovens and coffee machines and being able to serve people again.”