Come 1st May 2022, River Valley is Open to the World
If you plan on a journey to New Zealand, the biggest news in the last couple of weeks has to be the long awaited reopening of New Zealand’s borders to international travellers.
This stage of the phased reopening will occur on 1st May 2022. This phase follows the earlier dropping of restrictions on New Zealanders travelling home, first from Australia, which happened in February, and the rest of the World in early March.
There are, however, still restrictions. These include the reopening in May to non-New Zealanders only applies to residents of visa waiver countries. In October 2022, normal travel will resume from non-visa waiver countries. Even in October, there will still be some restrictions. You can find more information on these here – https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19/border-closures-and-exceptions/border-entry-requirements
What Do We Expect at River Valley Following Reopening?
We don’t expect much increase in guests before winter but come October, the traditional start of our season, that will undoubtedly change. We already see forward bookings and expect these to only increase closer to next summer. However, in saying that, we think it unlikely that we will experience a massive surge in guest numbers.
This lower level of activity may, in fact, become the new normal.
River Valley Lodge has Changed
It will be a somewhat different River Valley to that found pre-covid. Gone are the big backpacker dorm rooms and the capacity to accommodate large numbers. Rather a stay at River Valley is now more intimate and personal. We have upgraded some of the accommodation and refurbished other spaces.
The food we serve has gained a greater profile, with further development of our Farm to Table offerings. Meals feature fresh seasonal produce from our organic gardens. The addition of e-bikes, in addition to our river and horse adventures, gives guests more things to do, with the option of exploring local rural back roads having already proven popular this last summer.
Is New Zealand Ready for Reopening?
There is little doubt that the tourism industry is ready, but I am not convinced that all New Zealanders will welcome a flood of overseas visitors, not that I think a flood is likely. Many of us have enjoyed having our slice of paradise to ourselves and not having to share with people from all over the world.
Has the tourism industry taken the opportunity that the pandemic presented to reinvent itself? I am hopeful that this is the case and we do not quickly revert to our old ways of doing things.
Finally, I want to acknowledge all the New Zealanders who have supported us, and businesses like ours, over the last couple of years. Thank you so much. You people have been fantastic! We have loved having you stay, and please, please, keep coming.