ZB

Mike's Minute: More needs to be done to attract international tourists

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 17 Mar 2022, 10:07am

Mike's Minute: More needs to be done to attract international tourists

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 17 Mar 2022, 10:07am

Do you feel it's like a jigsaw puzzle? Every time you think you are getting somewhere, the next piece is missing. 

The borders will be open. Not a moment too soon and a lot later than they could have been or should have been. But, oh the irony, Minister of Tourism Stuart Nash was via zoom given he is a household contact. 

And yet his announcement told anyone from offshore they can land with their negative RAT and off they go on holiday. Meantime, Nash with his negative RAT has to keep isolating. See what I mean? One step forward, but a couple of missing pieces. 

Apparently, we are to stand by, yet again, while we wait yet again for another announcement on the mandates, vaccine passes, and traffic light system. All the stuff that essentially makes opening the border pointless unless they are all dropped. 

So given that, why wasn’t it all packaged up together? Why wasn't the whole thing sorted in a one-stop-shop kind of fashion in order to put out a clean, clear, and positive message? It should've been that the country is open, rules gone, we're set to go, you're welcome, and have a great time because there are no restrictions. 

Unless, there are to be restrictions. If there are to be restrictions, then we are stuffed. No tourist is coming here to be repressed with dumb rules when they can go all over the world and do what they like. Britain is allowing unvaccinated people to arrive now. There are no rules. 

Meantime here, doors are closed, there are no crowds, and no big events. Events drive tourism so I hope someone, somewhere in that cluster of whiteboards in Wellington has joined those dots. 

Next issue, will they come? Well, hopefully. We pray they do, we pray that our image hasn’t been badly damaged, we pray the staffing issues won't provide a sour taste, and we pray the word of mouth doesn't turn negative. 

There is no question the tourism industry has shrunk with lay-offs and closures, so what do tourists come back to? 

The test will be in the bottom line. Pre-Covid tourism and dairy were worth well in excess of $30 billion. Half that got blown up with the borders and hermit kingdom obsession. 

I don’t mind if mass tourism doesn’t return, but my gut says it’s a long haul. The mentality has to be that we are truly open, we are normal, and Covid is behind us. If we can't do that, there is the whole world that already is, and that is where the planes will fly.