With most of the world on lockdown, New Zealand’s elimination of Covid-19 could be a boost to future tourism if the country promotes itself as a safe haven for overseas visitors.
Tourism is one of the country’s biggest foreign capital earners meaning the government’s ‘go hard, go early’ strategy could pay off sooner than other regions of the world that are still seeing extensive Covid-19 spread.
Luxury travel industry expert, Kris Clements, Director of Villa Getaways, says that although initially the easing of lockdown in New Zealand will mean there will be a new focus on domestic tourism, soon enough New Zealand will be highly sought after as a luxury destination.
“In a post-covid world, we will see more people wanting to come to New Zealand and Australia. With both countries going into lockdown early and keeping the virus at bay, it will stick in people's minds when borders finally open and people start planning holidays.”
The global luxury travel industry is worth $2tn dollars and in a post-covid climate it could be that only the wealthy can afford to travel.
“With Qantas and Air New Zealand anxious to reopen travel routes the eventual creation of a trans-Tasman bubble for travel will be great for both New Zealand and Australia. However, the closure of airlines in areas hard hit by the virus could affect ticket prices from further afield in the future, and this could mean only the wealthy from those countries can afford to travel here,” said Mr. Clements.
Local rental accommodation companies benefit from global giants like Air BnB scaling back
With the focus now on domestic tourism, travel and accommodation companies who once had a global focus now have to change their offering.
An NZ registered company with offices in New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, and Bali, Villa Getaways have always had a NZ business, but Covid-19 has meant they have had to refocus the entire business within Australasia.
“Villa Getaways has been around for over 20 years selling high-end villa accommodation and luxury experiences around the world. Covid-19 has turned our business on its head so we have had to identify new opportunities,” says Mr Clements.
One of these new opportunities is to strengthen their current local accommodation listings and experiences, especially with Air BnB scaling back their global operations in response to the virus. Many private Airbnb properties have already reverted to long term rentals.
“The global giants like Air BnB definitely cut into a lot of local travel accommodation company’s profits. We are hoping people will want to support local tourism companies and we are ready for them with over 500 luxury villa listings across New Zealand and Australia,” said Mr. Clements.
In the past a substantial percentage of the Villa Getaways business has come from Australasian clients.
“Going forward we are optimistic about the gradual lifting of restrictions within Australasia,” Mr Clements added.
Now with the option of Asian beach resorts like Bali and Phuket off the table, people will be more interested in ski holidays in New Zealand this winter, and beach and sun-seekers from both countries will likely visit the Australian East Coast beach towns.
“Smart people are starting to think ahead to take advantage of great choice, open availability, and discounts. We have had enquiries from July onwards which is a positive indication of where things might be heading,” said Mr. Clements.