Big bounce-back, eventually

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By PHILIP CHANDLER

Tourism will fully bounce back, it just mightn’t be for another 12 to 18 months.

That’s the view of tourism lecturer and author Ian Yeomans, from Wellington’s Victoria University.

In town late last month to speak to Skal International club members, Yeomans suggests Covid’s ‘‘just a big blip’’.

‘‘Tourism’s a resilient industry, and when globally there’s been pandemics or global financial crisis or terrorism incidents, tourism’s been the first industry to be affected, but the bounce-back’s been very sharp, and there’s no reason to doubt this won’t happen here in
New Zealand, and particularly Queenstown, as the epicentre.’’

However, Yeomans, who formerly lectured in Britain and was a scenario planner for VisitScotland, warns it’ll be a while before his predicted ‘‘very big rebound’’ happens.

‘‘I don’t think there’s going to be a strong summer season this year, the target’s going to be summer 2022/’23 by the time things get back to normalisation, but I could be wrong.’’

He says even if NZ opened its borders tomorrow, the only market we’d do well out of is
Australia, and even then, not at 2019 levels.

‘‘NZ’s a long-haul destination, and therefore decisions about coming to NZ are traditionally made 12 months out.

‘‘If you did open the borders in the next 12 months, the only market that would probably be buoyant would be ‘visiting families and relatives’, people trying to reconnect and that kind of stuff.’’

‘Mass tourism’ might even return, Yeomans suggests, because individual travel’s likely to be very expensive, so people might prefer the economies of scale they’d get travelling in
groups.

However, going by examples like the United States, Germany and France, where tourism’s opened up again, campervan travel might be very popular.

‘‘One of the consequences of Covid-19 has been health and safety becomes a lot more
predominant.

‘‘People will want to control their bubble and their space, and the best way to do that is
travelling around in RVs.’’

scoop@scene.co.nz