Hospitality Business Magazine

New hospo challenges arise with border reopening plan

The staged approach to reopening New Zealand presents more challenges for the hospitality industry says Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association.

“While it’s a relief to see borders finally reopening, our industry desperately needs skilled workers and the restrictions at Stages 1 and 2 appear to signal a block on us accessing the skills to help our sector recover.

“Immigration New Zealand has been in contact with us on their immigration rebalance but we are still awaiting specific information on the proposed changes and how these will affect the industry.”

“It appears that the Government is using the border closures and the reopening approach to serve a wider strategy which ultimately blocks industries like ours from accessing the workforce we need.

“Price increases in our industry are already happening as a result of supply chain issues but there is only so many increases the New Zealand consumer can sustain.

“Raising salaries to the levels needed to be able to meet the immigration criteria is in fact, not sustainable. All of these extra costs come on top of a long period of business closures and reduced revenues.

“The return of those on working holiday visas along with tourists, particularly for our holiday hotspots who are desperately in need of visitors will, however, be welcomed.”

“We see the isolation periods being a deterrent to visitors and therefore question how many visitors we will see back in New Zealand, so while it is encouraging to see the plan, we do not see this being the end of the challenges our sector will face over the next 12 months,” concluded Marisa Bidois.