Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) says today’s announcement enabling vaccinated visitors to enter New Zealand without isolation is news the industry has been waiting to hear.
BEIA Chief Executive Lisa Hopkins says today’s decision, staging the return of Australian visitors from 12 April and all other visa-waiver travellers from 1 May offers much-needed confidence after the roller coaster ride of the past two years.
“This is the message our international customers needed to hear. We anticipate between 50 to 60 business events with international attendees will now be able to proceed with confidence this year, bringing vital export revenue and cash flow back to the sector,” Hopkins says.
While this is the most positive step to date in New Zealand’s plan to reconnect with the world, BEIA warns there is still work to be done.
“As we see it, the mahi (work) isn’t finished. There are a couple of critical issues, vital to our sector, which still need to be addressed,” she says
“The first is the need for the government to indicate when we can expect a shift in the Covid Protection Framework from Red to Green. We understand that can’t happen right now in the midst of the Omicron peak, but we are keen to ensure this is uppermost in the government’s thinking.”
“The second is the process for attendees and visitors to enter the country. This needs to be refined, as currently, it is cumbersome and not fit for purpose.
“We join with other sectors, such as Hospitality New Zealand, to call for the elimination of Vaccine Passes soon. They have done their job brilliantly, but now, with the majority of New Zealanders vaccinated and fully vaccinated travellers only allowed into the country, passes will become redundant.
“This is a moment for reflection on a tumultuous two years, and celebration for everyone in the events, tourism, accommodation, travel and hospitality sectors who we have worked alongside,” Hopkins says,
“The desire to return to face-to-face events is clear, and already we are hearing conversations with future international business customers have begun. The business events sector can now begin its recovery as we start the journey to rebuild, re-hire and re-energise our industry.”