Having closed its borders to the world in 2020, with the occasional exception of Australia, New Zealand has opened up again in 2022, taking a gradual and cautious approach. However, being a long-haul destination during rising airfares has challenged recovery, particularly given that several major source markets, and groups of visitors, including international students, have yet to return to the country.
The gradual reopening of New Zealand’s borders has meant that many international airlines that previously flew to New Zealand, have not yet returned to the country. In addition, some consumers still need to build confidence to travel overseas.
Hotels partially recovered in 2022 but remained far below pre-COVID-19 peaks due to low levels of business travel. In addition, the gradual return of international inbound arrivals and the fact that many travellers arriving were visiting and staying with friends and relatives, consequently dampened the growth for hotels.
While bookings surged during 2022, they remained far below pre-COVID-19 peaks. Travel intermediaries performed poorly, as holidaymakers preferred to book directly, especially as their choices were largely limited to domestic providers with whom they felt familiar with and confident.
As a long-haul destination in an era defined by high fuel prices, travel to New Zealand will continue to lag across the forecast period, even though the borders will be open. However, New Zealand’s reputation as a safe destination for international tourists has been boosted by its handling and management of the pandemic.
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