14 December 2021

Te Anau excited and optimistic as Auckland borders open

Te Anau businesses are feeling cautiously optimistic as Aucklanders get the “orange light” to travel outside their borders from tomorrow (15th Dec).

12,000 passengers have booked to fly on Air New Zealand tomorrow, with more than 1,200 of those expected to arrive in Queenstown.

The Fat Duck restaurant co-owner Cameron Davies said he was excited and couldn’t wait for it to happen.

The town needs people moving through it. It would be a big lift, he said.

It would be good to see Aucklanders down this way, and he hoped they would have an awesome time and want to come back.

However while hopeful of an increase in demand, he was uncertain how long the bubble would last.

Caution and taking it one day at a time meant employing fewer staff than he usually would.

Davies said he didn’t have too many fears about COVID unless it got into [his] team.

He acknowledged it would be a huge challenge if that happened.

Anchorage Motel owner Nigel Humphreys was also cautiously optimistic.

“We won’t see a massive influx”, he said.

He said a lot of Aucklanders were now holding onto their [existing] bookings in the hope they could [now] travel.

He said bookings were very similar to last year, but that was still only 50-60% on a season pre-COVID.

Christine Wallace, co-owner of Fiordland Outdoors Company (FOC) said the show must go on and we need to keep pace with the rest of the world.

FOC was at just 10% of a pre-COVID season, so Wallace would be “very, very, very glad to see [Aucklanders] down here”.

Things [have been] pretty grim. Tourism needs it, she said.

FOC had made massive reforms early in May 2022, she said, working hard on their track transport.

Domestic travellers still wanted the Great Walks. Kiwis had a love affair with the Milford Track and supporting the wee guy, she said.

While not expecting a huge influx from the Auckland border opening, Wallace expected a three-week spike in sales.

She said local businesses had been really proactive, putting procedures into place to keep their staff and the community safe under the new traffic light system.

Published by Southland App – 14 December 2021