Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the Australian travel bubble had generated “a wave of positivity” and boosted confidence.
Daily movements across the border data tracked by Stats NZ show that in the first nine days of the bubble, which began on April 19, New Zealand welcomed 30,936 arrivals, with 20,796 departures on the same period.
While a small number of people traveling to and from other countries are also included in these figures, the majority were those traveling without quarantine between New Zealand and Australia.
“There is a wave of positivity here,” Robertson said during a Fitch Ratings webinar on the outlook for the New Zealand economy, which took place on Wednesday. “We have Australians coming to New Zealand as tourists, which is great. This will have a significant impact on sentiment. ”
* Trans-Tasman Fizzer? Slow start for Tasmanian bubble tourism
* Trans-Tasman bubble: Auckland airport expects 1000 percent increase in Tasman flights
* “ Guess in the dark ”: tourism operators face uncertainty over the travel bubble
Robertson said there were “good solid bookings through mid-year” with Australians traveling here for our ski season.
While this is a good thing, it is not the general panacea for our tourism industry, he said.
“A large majority of our tourists are not from Australia, so we’re going to have to continue to deal with this gap as we don’t expect a wide range of international tourists until next year,” said Robertson.
Aotearoa tourism industry chief executive Chris Roberts said the trans-Tasman volume was promising but well below normal traffic flows. In the same nine days in 2019, there were 177,000 arrivals in New Zealand and 191,000 departures, he noted.
Still, Robertson said it’s really good for confidence that people can see some light at the end of the tunnel.
“A combination of the vaccine rollout and the travel bubble is really helpful for business confidence in general,” he said.
Robertson said he looked forward to the release of first quarter unemployment data, due Wednesday.
“Overall, when I look at job postings and hiring intentions, it’s always very, very strong,” he said.
The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 4.9 percent in the three months leading up to the end of December, from 5.3 percent in the previous quarter.