New Zealand’s tourism sector is warning the alarm bells after the latest set-back to the highly anticipated trans-Tasman bubble.
Australia put a temporary ban on its one-way travel arrangement across the Tasman after New Zealand recorded its first community Covid-19 case in weeks.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) has forecast the sector will lose out on $NZ6 billion ($A5.6 billion) this summer without international visitors, with a third of that coming from Australians.
“Every time we almost get to the prize it gets snatched away,” TIA chief executive Chris Roberts told AAP.
“The government was proposing to make it two-way in the first quarter and they were going to give us a precise date for that in early January.
“Now we’re at the end of January and our prime minister is signalling it’s getting more difficult.
“Our tourism businesses need customers.
“Thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses could disappear because the cash flows from Christmas and the New Year are not going to sustain them much further.”
Roberts said the industry needed further support if the bubble is delayed any further.
“The single biggest assistance government could give would be opening up the Tasman,” he said.
“There’s pent up demand in Australia, particularly if we’re the one choice. There’s a huge prize we just can’t access.”