New Zealand
The Australia-New Zealand travel bubble starts 19 April. Photo – Canva.
  • From Queenstown to Queensland and back, international travel will soon be an option
  • 146,000 people flew into Queensland’s largest airports over the Easter long weekend
  • Expect a boost when the quarantine-free international travel starts on 19 April

After a year of closed borders, from Queenstown to Queensland and back, international travel is now back on the agenda.

With the Kiwi-Aussie travel bubble set to open in five days, expect a flood of Aussies looking to hop over to New Zealand, and vice versa, and a relief valve for the hit-upon hospitality and tourist industries.

Last week, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the trans-Tasman agreement after more than a year of closed borders with Australia. Two-way quarantine free travel can commence from midnight on April 18th, with airlines ready to take bookings from April 19th.

This means Kiwis and Aussies can travel between each other’s countries without undergoing mandatory quarantine. However, usual cautions remain, such as checking in on Covid Safe apps and observing other restrictions as they apply in various regions.

When in Rome

“People will need to plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted if there is an outbreak,” said Prime Minister Ardern.

“In many ways, we will treat Australia as a region of our own when making decisions on restrictions, albeit one with the complication of multiple internal borders.”

Sudden outbreaks in Australia could mean the bubble will be paused, she warned.

Meanwhile, airports, airlines and tourism booking platforms have all enjoyed strong surges in demand from travellers looking to book Queensland holidays in the past week, showing positive signs for the industry’s ongoing recovery.

Queensland is but a hop, skip and a jump from New Zealand, and is an attractive option for travellers, as is most of the eastern seaboard of Australia.

New data released today shows close to 146,000 people flew into Queensland’s largest airports over the Easter long weekend. 38,000 flew into Cairns, 50,000 flew into the Gold Coast, 40,000 into Brisbane and 17,900 to the Sunshine Coast.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said airlines were also reporting a huge surge in demand for trans-Tasman services, adding more than 230 flights per week to New Zealand’s major airports following the announcement of unrestricted travel both ways commencing this month.

Searches on Expedia.co.nz surged by almost 460 per cent compared to last week.

“After a tough year for our tourism industry, things are starting to look up for many operators in some of our most important visitor destinations,” the Premier said.

“We’ve seen good numbers to many regions over Easter and with more flights from New Zealand, we’re expecting numbers to grow in coming weeks.

“Tourism supports thousands of businesses and thousands of Queensland jobs. We want to see those businesses and those jobs get through this pandemic.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Visitors spent $1.9 billion in Queensland in January 2021, up from $1.3 billion spent in December 2020, according to TRA’s National Visitor Survey.

Meanwhile, Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan has hinted that Singapore could be the next possible bubble option.

“We’ll monitor the situation as it’s occurring overseas in other countries,” he said.

“Obviously, Singapore would be a very good next step to build on what we have already achieved with New Zealand.

“But we’ll take our time, we’ll work that through, and we’ll make sure that we have got the expert medical advice backing our assessment that that is the way that we should proceed.”

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