As I write this post, in New Zealand, we are about to enter our third week of lockdown. New Covid cases dropped in the last 24 hours, encouraging signs that this outbreak is coming under control. Will it be the last lockdown as we continue the struggle to keep the population safe?
The other day I read an article put out by some international travel association. I did not take particular note of who they were, but I did note what they had to say.
What they had to say was that international travel was unlikely to return to anything like pre-covid levels until 2024 at the earliest. In other words, two years or more away.
I was on a Zoom call with some other tourism operators several days ago. As you can imagine, they were not a happy bunch of campers. For many of us, some government support, such as wage subsidies, is undoubtedly helping, if not essential. I did not hear anyone say we should rush to reopen the borders.
Yes, it is becoming a bit like fortress New Zealand and possibly looks like that to the rest of the world, but I think most of us genuinely want to keep ourselves and others safe. We only need to look at how case numbers are rapidly increasing in other countries where the decision to open up, probably prematurely, has been taken.
So, this brings me to the point of this post. What can the traveller or holidaymaker expect in New Zealand this summer?
First of all, there won’t be many people from overseas, other than “maybe” a few Australians if they can get their act together. Even then, for anybody visiting New Zealand, there will be hoops to jump through. These have not been clearly laid out yet, but are likely to include proof of vaccination, negative pre-trip and arrival Covid tests, and possibly managed isolation on arrival.
Of course, those who do get through all of this will find a welcoming New Zealand without the crowds – well, at least outside of school holidays.
For New Zealanders, this will be another summer to treasure. We get to explore our own country and have few other people to share the hotspots with.
However, one thing that may surprise many holidaymakers is how the number of accommodation options and operators of some attractions and activities is thinner than when they last travelled. An example of this is Bed and Breakfast establishments. Some reports suggest that up to 30% of these have closed. Depending on patronage over the summer, not to mention the possibility of more lockdowns, the number of closures could dramatically increase.
At the moment, many tourism businesses are only just holding on. If the summer is not busy, then I fully expect many to say “to hell with this”, sell up if they can, and go and do something else. And who could blame them?
Will River Valley be one of those who close? I can’t say it is presently in our plans. We have done some hard yards in the past, and over the decades of operation, have learned that you sometimes need to dig deep and find reserves of strength and probably more than a bit of stubbornness to hang in there.
Finishing on a more upbeat note.
From Spring through to Autumn, River Valley is one of the most beautiful places (we would say with no bias) in the whole world to be.
We hope you visit us this summer to experience our river, the Rangitikei, and the stunning surrounding landscape. We also hope you will share the Lodge and some seriously good food with us during your stay.
We look forward to your visit.
From Spring through to Autumn, River Valley is one of the most beautiful places in the whole world to be.