Queenstown tourist operators are hoping Australians will be willing to try new activities when they get to New Zealand, following Monday’s opening of a two-way quarantine-free trans-Tasman bubble.
NZONE Skydive general manager Clark Scott told Breakfast the bubble was a long time coming, after a “devastating” 12 months for Queenstown because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“[The travel bubble] it’s fabulous news. There’s a real sense of relief around Queenstown,” Scott said.
Despite Australian visitors making up less than 10 per cent of NZONE Skydive’s market in the past, Scott said he was hoping that would change from Monday.
“If the Australian market behaves as the New Zealand market did once they can travel, we’re hoping to experience a lift in that number, particularly through winter when the ski season is largely populated with Australians.”
Scott said other tourist operators in Queenstown that he’d spoken to were also hoping Australians would be adventurous during their trips.
There is also a possibility the number of Australian visitors will exceed pre-pandemic levels, with accommodation providers already seeing “strong forward bookings”, he added.
“I’m sure we will be enjoying a different type of Australian as well as the Australian skiing public.”
But bookings by Australians to visit New Zealand may not match the hype around the trans-Tasman travel bubble, a key tourism operator told Q+A.
Tourism Holdings Limited, which operates the Maui, Britz, Kea and Mighty Rentals camper rental brands on both sides of the Tasman, said New Zealanders seem to be the ones keener to make use of the bubble.
“To date, there is more growth in New Zealanders searching for Australia campervan travel, than Australians searching for New Zealand,” CEO Grant Webster said.
However, he added that browsing has not equalled bookings in either country.
“We are seeing strong interest, but it is mainly window shopping right now with website search up more than bookings.”
A one-way bubble allowing New Zealanders to travel to some Australian states began in October, before the two-way bubble with all was formally announced last week.
The two-way trans-Tasman travel bubble will open at 11.59pm, April 18.