Coronavirus update from Tourism New Zealand - information from industry

21 Feb 2020


COVID-19 - information for industry

The latest updates from Tourism New Zealand on COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

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Questions and answers for industry

How long will the China travel restrictions be in place? 

The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the evolving global COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and follow guidance from the World Health Organization. While the likelihood of an imported case in New Zealand is high, the likelihood of a widespread outbreak is low–moderate. Travel restrictions from China took effect on 3 February and are in place until the 24 February. The position is reviewed every 48 hours.

What action will Tourism New Zealand take to recover the Chinese visitor market when the restrictions are lifted? 

We are committed to the Chinese visitor market and look forward to resuming our marketing activity when visitor arrivals to New Zealand resume and welcoming our Chinese visitors back to Aotearoa. 

Where do I find information on the current situation? 

Official health advice regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) can be found on the Ministry of Health website.

What action can operators take while the travel restrictions are in place? 

We encourage operators to provide feedback on the impacts they are facing and to review short-term strategies to focus on other markets where possible until the travel restrictions are lifted.   

How can we help racism/xenophobia?

Industry can play an important role in encouraging and demonstrating the manakiitanga that Aoteraroa is known for. A number of agencies, like NZ Police have made comment condemning any racist or xenophobic behavior and we fully support these.

Update four

18 February 2020

Yesterday the Government announced a $10 million funding package for Tourism New Zealand to respond to the impacts of COVID-19.

We absolutely welcome this funding which will help to alleviate some of the pressures the tourism sector is facing at the moment.

The funding will boost the response plan we communicated to industry last week to encourage growth from other markets.

China remains an incredibly important visitor market and we look forward to renewing our activity in China and welcoming Chinese visitors back to New Zealand as soon as possible. We will also be working on plans to reinvest in the market when the time is right.

In addition, Government also approved a $1 million funding package to encourage domestic tourism for areas most affected that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will manage.

As our plans progress, we will keep you informed.

Update three

17 February 2020

Tourism New Zealand is taking action to encourage growth from other markets while travel restrictions from China are in place.

We’ve carefully considered options and will look to develop opportunities that have the highest probability of delivering short-term and medium- to long-term visitor growth. These are outlined below.

China remains an incredibly important visitor market and we look forward to renewing our activity in China and welcoming Chinese visitors back to New Zealand as soon as possible. Tourism New Zealand continues to work closely with Government and our partners in China to reflect the importance of this relationship. We will also be working on plans to reinvest in the market when the time is right.

Short-term work

Australia, as our largest short-haul market, will be a strong focus in the immediate future. We will look to partner with industry to help fund and coordinate a new campaign targeting the upcoming shoulder season.

We will also collaborate with our global digital media partners and direct to consumer channels to implement a new global audience strategy. This will attempt to reach visitors we may not be currently connecting with.

Medium- to long-term work

We will be looking to take advantage of positive sentiment following our successful world cup activity in Japan, increasing investment in this market.

We are also looking to capitalise on new airline routes in the US and explore options to build on positive market sentiment movements in the UK.

Next steps

We are about to kick off work on these plans and will keep you informed and updated as they develop. In the meantime, if you have any further questions please let us know.

Update two

3 February 2020

You will have seen the announcement from the Government yesterday regarding the temporary entry restrictions on all foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China to assist with the containment of the novel coronavirus.

The announcement followed heightened travel advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for mainland China to ‘do not travel’. The restrictions will take effect from today and will be in place for up to 14 days, with review every 48 hours. It follows a decision from Australia to change its border stance on Saturday.

As you can imagine, the Government’s decision was not made lightly. It was made with the health and safety of New Zealanders in mind and New Zealand’s responsibility to try and help combat the virus.

That being said, we understand that for industry this is undoubtedly an extremely challenging time.

The Prime Minister has said, “The Cabinet is acutely aware of the economic impact of the virus, including on tourism, the primary sector and education. I have asked Ministers to make contact with industry leaders to mitigate some of these impacts as much as possible.”

This is fantastic to hear, and will no doubt give you some confidence.

Tourism New Zealand is providing advice to Government about the role we can play in supporting industry and encouraging growth from other markets in response to the events.

We will also continue to analyse the impact on the sector. If you have any information that you think would help us do this, please get in touch.

In the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Update one

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27 January 2020

As you will be aware, the Coronavirus has spread across China and has now had confirmed cases in Australia and beyond. We have been made aware that China’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture has notified tourism bureaus in China to suspend the operation of group tour and flight and accommodation packages. These relate to both domestic and outbound travel. The notice permits groups who have already commenced their travel to continue with their trip. As a result, we encourage industry to liaise with Chinese partners and travel sellers on how the notice may affect upcoming tour arrivals.

It is not yet known how each region in China will implement the temporary suspension so we don’t know exactly how it will impact arrivals at this stage, but it could significantly impact short term Chinese arrivals. At a time when the industry was gearing up for increased Chinese arrivals we know this news is likely to cause some operators some concern. You have our commitment that we will continue to monitor the impact on the sector and keep you updated as the situation evolves. We are also working closely with government, the sector and our offshores offices to support their efforts to control and prevent the spread of the virus. 

There are some things that you can also do to support the sector and help stop the spread of the virus. The way New Zealand manages any cancellations will be extremely important. Advice from our China office is that processing any cancellations with understanding and offering our welcome for future travel would be most appreciated by visitors under the circumstances.

While there are no confirmed cases of the virus in New Zealand, with many visitors arriving each day you can play an in important role preventing the virus spreading should it make its way here. Please familiarise yourself with the Ministry of Health of guidelines and be extra vigilant about any guests you might notice that are unwell.

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