Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive Julie White says the April 19 Trans-Tasman bubble with Australia is wonderful news for struggling Kiwi hospitality and accommodation  businesses.

“Now it’s a matter of grasping every opportunity the expected influx of Australian visitors and Kiwis returning to visit family will bring their way.

“Australians typically comprise the biggest chunk of our incoming visitor market, accounting for 39% and spending $2.7 billion in 2019, and though it would be too much to expect it to get back to anywhere near that level for quite some time, I’m optimistic this will be enough to save some of our hospitality businesses.

“Winter’s coming, and after many businesses suffered from a disappointing summer, telling us in a survey that lack of revenue was their No1 issue, it’s crucial they grab every opportunity.

“Australians, like Kiwis, are great travellers, and I believe we’ll see them looking to throw off their shackles and explore New Zealand for the first time.

“And, we’ve got our ski season coming up, so we’re hoping winter will not be as dark as some businesses were fearing.

“The test will be to see if we can keep the bubble open.

“It’s time we learned to live with a bit of risk. We need to balance the health risk with the wider economic risk. “

“We welcome the Government’s three-stage traffic light plan of ‘continue’, ‘pause’, and ‘suspend’ as part of learning to live with COVID.

“It’s crucial for businesses, families, and the wider economy that we accept some risk and stay open.”

The confirmed date for quarantine-free travel from Australia, starting on 19 April has also been welcomed by New Zealand’s business events industry, including events such as Fine Foods NZ in Auckland.

Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) says opening the borders with Australia is essential to ensuring the sector’s economic future.

“Australian clients are telling us they want to meet and do business person-to-person in New Zealand, and we can’t wait to welcome them back,” BEIA Chief Executive, Lisa Hopkins says.

Lisa Hopkins.

“This is a much-deserved relief for our business events industry members who have really battled for the last year,” she says.

“Business events are planned and booked well in advance, and today’s news will give Australian organisers the confidence needed to plan and book their events in New Zealand, not just for this year, but further ahead.

“Business events attendees spend more than any other visitor. They are here for business, education or trade, and will pay appropriately for the experience, bringing far-reaching value in terms of jobs, growth and opportunity,” she says.

“These visitors bring revenue to cities and regions during weekdays, off-peak and shoulder seasons, because they operate in a counter-cyclical nature to leisure tourism. This will be so important for winter 2021 and beyond.”

The economic value to New Zealand of Australian business event delegates is estimated at $225 million in direct spend per year. (Source: BEAS, BEDP, BEDS 2019, Fresh Info).

On average, each Australian delegate spent a total of $1,800 in New Zealand in 2019, averaging four nights in the event region, and another two nights elsewhere within New Zealand.

BEIA has identified $38 million in direct spend from Australian-based conference organisers looking to host an event in New Zealand between mid-2021 and the end of 2022.

BEIA is hosting New Zealand’s largest business events showcase, MEETINGS in early June. Australian buyers have already registered to attend the event, on 2 and 3 June in Auckland, in anticipation of today’s announcement. They will also be given the opportunity to join eight planned familiarisations around the country, offering a first-hand experience of New Zealand’s regional capabilities to host future conferences, incentives and meetings.

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