- At alert level 1, the NZ government is actively promoting domestic travel to revive the sector.
- Australian Aviation research centre Capa has predicted domestic air travel capacity in NZ will improve 80% of pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of this year, though international seat number for NZ to dip by 87%.
- The government is encouraging employers for a four-day workweek to encourage domestic travel, supporting a petition calling for additional public holiday.
- Prime Minister has launched the skiing season without foreigners this year to uplift domestic tourism and economy consequently.
When several countries are struggling with the Covid 19 pandemic, New Zealand managed to lift almost all its restrictions thanks to better handling of the pandemic in the country. Kiwis are currently under alert level 1, where they do not need to follow physical distancing or travel restriction on public transport and planes. After the restrictions are eased, now it is expected that the domestic seat numbers will reach around 40% of 2019 levels in June and about 60% of 2019 levels by early October.
Australian-based aviation research centre Capa - Centre for Aviation has predicted that the domestic air travel capacity in NZ will improve to 80% of pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of 2020. The leading aviation analysis group made the predictions based on capacity projections, underlying demand, government statements, and airline network announcements.
The only restriction that remains in New Zealand is that the border is closed for all travellers from outside NZ. As per Capa chairman emeritus Peter Harbison, a possible trans-Tasman bubble is being created from August, with few Pacific Island linkages added to it. Capa has predicted international seat numbers for NZ to decrease by 87% in December. Mr. Harbison warned the aviation sector of further diminishing business as 2021 is expected to be worse than 2020.
There is a need for inter-government coordination and a feasible plan to operate global aviation amid the Covid 19 crisis.
3 steps to boost NZ domestic travel
The government strongly supports domestic travel
In New Zealand, 60% of kiwis are dependent on tourism. Before the pandemic, NZ's top export earner was international tourism, making up to ~ 20% of total exports which is equating upto NZ$ 47 million a day from 3.9 million overseas visitors in last year. If we talk about domestic travel, it contributed 60% of the NZ$ 41 billion in total yearly tourism spending.
Call for a new public holiday or Four-day work week
The current affairs project “"Get Out Of Town Day" or "GOOT Day", that calls for a new public holiday has initiated a petition for the proposed public holiday, and almost 1600 people already signed it. The project is to encourage kiwis to explore the scenic natural beauty of their own country and also support tourism in the process until the land is sealed for overseas tourists.
The petition says that the tourism sector is among the worst hit due to the Covid-19 crisis. The industry provides 400,000 jobs, and right now with international borders closed, the domestic tourism is the only saving grace. So, the petition highly recommends new public holidays for kiwis to have more time to explore NZ.
The project "Get Out Of Town Day" or "GOOT Day" hopes that government will declare new holidays. In a Facebook live video, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that people are suggesting various ways to boost tourism within the country and the suggestions include flexible work hours and more public holidays.
Ms. Ardern is urging employers to consider four-day working week and other options to offer flexible work environment to the workers. The proposal of Four-day work week was designed to enhance the work/life balance and promote domestic travel as people will have more time in hand to explore their country.
Ms. Ardern also highlighted that the implementation of the proposal is at the discretion of the employee and the employer, but people are looking for such options. Also, the COVID-19 experience has taught a lot about the work from home flexibility with high productivity. So, if employers can offer such flexibility, it will boost the tourism sector and simultaneously, it will benefit the economy.
Launch of SKi-season
Ms Adern has launched the ski-season in 2020 without foreigner tourists. The season began with excitement and relief. On the launch day, Prime Minister was greeted by about 400 well-wrapped-up skiers wearing helmet, and goggle. Ms. Adern said that the enthusiasm of the local tourist signals a sign of hope but has also acknowledged the pain of missing on the foreign travellers.
Ms. Adern is encouraging people to explore their backward and make more travel plans within NZ. However, the operators say that it will not make up for the foreigners who bring about half of the industry's NZ$ 16.1 billion (USD 10.34 billion) annual income.he closed border will make the skiing season quieter than usual. It also gives kiwis, especially those with families, an opportunity to enjoy more space in the mountain.