Hope for Hawke's Bay tourism
PĀ MAI TŌ REO
Hawke’s Bay’s tourism industry has a chance to be revitalised this summer as Aucklanders are released for holiday travel. The government announced today that those in Auckland who are fully vaccinated or cleared with a negative Covid test no more than 72 hours prior to departure will be free to travel for any reason on December 15. Vicarage Bed and Breakfast owner Elaine King said the news of Auckland opening for the summer was welcome after a long period of uncertainty, estimating she has lost 60 per cent of their bookings during the restrictions. “We have only had people travelling for work, no holidaymakers at all,” King said. However, despite restrictions lifting, she still believes many people will not feel safe enough to travel for holidays. “I don’t think things are going to improve too much. Even though Aucklander’s have been released from prison, I think many will choose to stay.” Hawke’s Bay Tourism chief executive Hamish Saxton said the announcement was welcome news. “Moving to the new Covid-19 Protection Framework will provide immeasurable relief and benefit to operators, not in the least because it will give them more certainty, confidence, and ability to operate,” Saxton said. He said Auckland is the biggest market of out-of-region visitors to Hawke’s Bay, contributing 17 per cent of the annual visitor spend. “Naturally they are of critical importance to our visitor economy, and we look forward to being able to once again warmly welcome Auckland visitors to the region, under the guidance and regulation of the Covid-19 Protection Framework.” At orange and green levels of the Covid-19 Protection Framework’s traffic light system, events of greater than 100 people are allowed to run with vaccination certificate requirements. “Hawke’s Bay has an exceptional line up of events starting from the Cape Estate Boxing Day Festival to Six60 at McLean Park in April, and everything in between, including F.A. W.C!, Outfield, Art Deco Festival, Horse of the Year, First We Eat and Nestfest. We very much want to see these events go ahead,” he said. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said no region will move straight into green and any area under 90 per cent vaccination risked being moved into red. “We have all the way through tried to drive vaccination rates up to that 90 per cent mark. You can make an assumption that if your area is under 90 per cent that you are at risk of red,” Ardern said. The Ministry of Health has confirmed this refers to the number of those who have received two vaccinations. Hawke’s Bay DHB currently has a double vaccination rate of 77 per cent.