Two months ago, New Zealand's tourism minister, Stuart Nash, told the country's tourism industry players to prepare to have no international tourists for another year. Then, the government said it would start opening in stages. But the 7 day isolation requirement stays, meaning it's still not viable for most tourists to visit, which is devastating for the industry. So what's behind the reluctance to re-start the country's No.1 export earner?
Joanna Fountain is an Associate Professor and researcher in tourism at NZ's Lincoln University, Christchurch. She has published multiple research papers on tourism issues and has been a consultant on tourism-related projects in the country.
Quotes from this episode:
"New Zealand has done such a good job of keeping (Covid) out (that) there are a large proportion of the population who are just saying, 'Close the borders. Just let us live our lives here without any international visitors'."
"Some destinations are doing better... against all expectation. Businesses that have been usually reliant on international visitors have found that in domestic visitors, they have more loyal guests who are staying longer and actually spending more money."
"I'm kind of not sure what the difference is between now and another year. It's already had such a massive impact - two years without our number one export earner. I'm not sure what difference another year will make."
Connect with Joanna:
Connect with Adelaine: