Majority of Kiwis want New Zealand open to tourists now

The majority of Kiwis want New Zealand’s borders to open now to international tourists and visitors, provided they test negative for Covid on arrival, the latest 1News Kantar public poll has revealed.

The gates have been closed to foreign tourists since 2020, but the government revealed new dates for the opening of the border last month, estimating at the time around October 2022 for international tourists. Since then, the phased reopening has been brought forward for Kiwis around the world to return to New Zealand.

Respondents were asked, “Do you think New Zealand should open its borders to foreign tourists and visitors now, as long as they test negative on arrival?”

75% answered yes, 20% answered no and 5% did not know or refused to answer.

The groups of people who were more likely than average (75%) to want the borders open were people with annual incomes over $100,000 (87%), ACT and National supporters (86 %) and men (78%) .

People who were more likely than average (20%) to not want it open to tourists and visitors were Northland residents (38%), Pacific peoples (32%), Maori ( 29%), people whose annual household income was increasing. to $30,000 (27%), women aged 35-54 (26%) and Labor sympathizers (26%).

Public support is a positive element for our tourism sector.

Winter is on the horizon at Cardrona Alpine Resort near Queenstown, where it is hoped foreign skiers and snowboarders will finally be able to hit the slopes.

Managing director of RealNZ, owner of the ski area, Stephen England-Hall, said “whether it’s a full or full opening to Australia, it would have a significant impact on the winter ahead”.

Wellington’s store, Possum Boutique, relies heavily on tourists who bring in 80% of revenue.

Owner Carola Ortiz said “it would be huge [if the border opens again]. We really want those customers to come back…all those cruise ships that come in, they love our inventory.”

Not to mention New Zealand’s struggling hotel businesses.

Krishna Botica, from the Auckland Restaurant Association, said ‘we’re not going to get to October at this rate. Not without the help of the Kiwis, it’s very difficult for us to understand why tourists are being held back until October. It’s very, very, very opaque for us.”

It is not only tourism that would benefit, but also exporters.

Catherine Beard of Export NZ said ‘passenger tickets make air freight affordable so until we can open properly it will remain difficult even now with government support it is around three times as much expensive to send air freight”.

As for the health part of the conversation, the epidemiologist, Professor Michael Baker, believes that it is possible to open our borders within one to two months.

“I think it’s the change in disease burden in New Zealand, so once we get through this intense wave of Omicron, I think we can basically allow anyone who has been vaccinated, who has been tested before travel, so obviously we have a test system on arrival here.”

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told 1News in a statement, “The border is already open to New Zealanders and will be open to many visa holders from Monday.”

“We’ve said before that we’ll probably move the dates forward for tourists to help accelerate our economy.”

“Health advice remains that we should wait until we are past the peak of the outbreak to open much wider. Cabinet will soon consider next steps in context.”

A much-needed relief for a wide range of sectors who are still hoping for opening dates to be brought forward.

Between March 5 and March 8, 2022, 1,000 eligible voters were surveyed by mobile phone (500) and online (500). The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For party support and preferred prime minister, percentages have been rounded to whole numbers. Data has been weighted to align with Stats NZ population figures for age, gender, region, level of education and ethnic identification. The sample for mobile phones is selected by random dialing using probability sampling, and the online sample is collected using an online panel.

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