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New Zealand's Tourism and COVID-19

by Juan José Herranz | June 8, 2020
couple with gloves and masks separated due to Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has put most countries under strict quarantines for months now. While some countries have taken different approaches to control the spread of the virus, most have established travel restrictions

As a result, virtually all international travel plans have been canceled, commercial flights are no longer operating in most regions of the world, and the tourism industry is one of the most affected industries worldwide. New Zealand had been on the spot during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to its effective control of the virus. The early and strict actions taken by the government allowed for the progression of the virus to be highly controlled.

What did these strict measures mean for New Zealand Tourism? The prospect for New Zealand tourism sector is no better than other countries since the restrictions on flights and international visitors will most probably extend to whenever a vaccine is available worldwide. However, New Zealand does have one advantage: it is one of the safest countries to travel to during the pandemic. You will only need to get a NZeTA

How has New Zealand eliminated coronavirus cases?

New Zealand’s strategy to control the Covid-19 pandemic and preventing its spread across its territory was focused on getting rid of the virus altogether instead of flattening the curve. Its immediate action, from the moment there were less than 100 infected people until now, has achieved great results. With about 5 million citizens, the cases of coronavirus have only reached a total of about 1200 cases and less than 30 deaths. 

New Zealand detected its first case of Covid-19 by the end of February and less than a month after that, with about 100 detected cases, the government announced that it was going to establish one of the harshest quarantines in the world. New Zealand was also great at testing, with some of the highest testing rates on the planet. The lockdown made it mandatory for all non-essential businesses to close down and people were strictly quarantined in their homes. Borders were shut and only New Zealand citizens and residents were allowed to fly into the country. 

New Zealand’s remote location, early lockdown, border control, its low population density were decisive factors. Citizen collaboration was another of the key elements of success. A vast majority of Kiwis supported the government’s measures and thought that the crisis was being handled appropriately. 

woman putting on a mask

How important is tourism in New Zealand?

New Zealand is famous worldwide for its stunning and picturesque landscapes, its national rugby team, and its indigenous Maori culture. While the largest economic sector of the islands is Agriculture, the tourism sector is the biggest in terms of foreign exchange. New Zealand tourism contributes to around 10% of the country’s GDP and it represents 15% of its workforce. 

The cost of eradicating the virus will most likely mean that New Zealand’s economy won’t recover until 2026. Aiming at total isolation from the rest of the world to avoid the virus to coexist within its territory will mean that not only the tourism sector, but other sectors as well such as education, that largely relies on foreign visitors, will also be affected. 

There are many speculations and predictions about what the future holds for New Zealand tourism. Some support total isolation, some support a halfway measure that would open borders to neighboring countries likes Australia, and others don’t support the idea of getting completely rid of the virus at all.

brown prairie and mountains

What is the best time to go to New Zealand?

The best time to visit New Zealand is summer. Considering that it is located in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are the total opposite of the northern hemisphere. December to February are therefore the best months to visit New Zealand. 

New Zealand’s climate has had a great influence on the island and its inhabitants for centuries. The main economic activity is agriculture, so the weather has been decisive in the demographic development of the islands. Climate and weather are also key to New Zealand tourism. New Zealand is famous for its long hours of sunshine and its moderate temperatures. Moderate rainfall and constantly changing weather complete the weather features of the islands. 

Is New Zealand expensive?

New Zealand’s cost of living is on the expensive side, and tourists should keep that in mind when budgeting for a trip to the islands. On the other hand, the exchange rate between the New Zealand Dollar and most major currencies is favorable.

The most expensive part of a trip is usually accommodation, food, and transportation. Tourists usually spend most of their planned budget on food and transportation when getting around New Zealand, and a daily budget of 100 USD to 200 USD should be expected to spend.