Australians are cautiously keen to travel over the divide, according to a travel agent industry group.
It takes less than a fortnight for the non-quarantine bubble between New Zealand and Australia to begin, state by state.
The New Zealand government has developed a traffic light system to give an idea of what could happen if community cases of Covid-19 emerge.
Australian Federation of Travel Agents President Tom Manwaring said Checkpoint he was seeing good early figures on air fares between Australia and Aotearoa.
“The reaction has been very good, and it exceeds the expectations of the carriers concerned.
“I think it’s a good morale boost across the board, as long as it’s consistent, and done with confidence. We don’t want flights to be cut short at the last minute because of one or two cases on either side of the ditch.
“There are 600,000 families [spread between the two countries] as you know. So there are a lot of VFRs, we call them, visiting friends and acquaintances.
“You are the first and second cousins for us here in Australia … and I think the market is really going to jump now. Tourists obviously go to Queenstown … but the family do because they have accommodation on either side, and they don’t have to hit, hopefully, the 14 day quarantine hotel charge.
“Getting out of winter to ski on snow is obviously going to be high on the list for a lot of skiers in Australia, as always.
“It’s one of the best parts of Australia. If you look at the domestic traffic between Melbourne and Sydney, New Zealand is the second best, I think.
“This is the first international for us. You flew some Kiwis in Australia, we just couldn’t leave too.
“So this is really the first test of this green-green country, quite free from Covid-19 on both sides, so this is an important test and it is important that it remains consistent.”
The risk lies with the travelers
Manwaring recognized the risk of high costs for travelers who could be stranded in the event of a community outbreak.
“Insurance companies, in fact, as soon as a risk arises, they run away. Insurance companies will therefore not cover anything to do with Covid-19. If you are halfway there and your flight is canceled due to Covid-19, cannot get coverage for this type of activity.
“You can for delays, credits and things like that … if your flight is delayed due to a canceled flight for a week or something like that, suppliers, hotels, tour operators, airlines would issue a credit, and that credit can then be changed but that will disrupt the plans.
“We just went through everything to make sure that doesn’t happen, whether it’s a free trial, with the vaccinations rolling out as well.”
Australians are renowned for the amount of money they spend on travel, Manwaring said, so New Zealand can expect Australian travelers to “do all the tourist”.
“At the Coromandel, around the North Island, to the South Island, Christchurch. As you well know Queenstown is a very popular place for Australians, with direct flights from Melbourne and Sydney I think .
“So those abilities are going to grow stronger. We love the outdoors and the fresh air, climbing mountains. I don’t know about your sheep there, but anyway we have beaches, beautiful places. have made a lot of trips to New Zealand., love.
“And we also love road trips, renting RVs and stuff and going out into the wilderness so that’s great, and also the ocean side over there with Auckland harbor, that ‘ is superb, great food and superb wine – my favorite pinot region, Otago – yes there is plenty to do.
“There is pent-up demand in Australia. It’s palpable, people want to go on vacation.”
He said he travels to New Zealand every month before the pandemic hits.
“We like to spend a dollar and our motto is in our favor, your average vacation week is going to be a few thousand dollars I would have thought, the average expense – meals and outings.
“If you come for three days, leave on Thursday, take a three night, come back Monday – a great way to spend four days and for the price it’s cheaper than many domestic fares in Australia.
“You’re going to have a lot of us, you’ll hear Australians everywhere, especially when we run over you in cricket and sailing and everything.”