Covid-19 Coronavirus Delta Outbreak: Hosts Prepare for Disappointing School Vacation, But Aucklanders Still Hoping They Will Cope
Taupō is one of the hardest hit areas due to the prolonged confinement of Auckland residents. Photo / Sandy Wilson
Accommodation providers don’t have much hope for an exceptional school holiday trade, despite some Aucklanders still clinging to their bookings in hopes of being able to leave from next Wednesday.
With the government not announcing any changes to alert levels until next Monday – the first day of school holidays – Aucklanders have been left in limbo over whether they could still escape to the beach or to snow for at least part.
Cancellations on the Bachcare vacation home website have exploded – up 281% from the weekly average after last week’s announcement that Auckland would remain at Level 3 for two weeks.
But the majority of those cancellations, 76%, were for departures before next Wednesday, showing the Aucklanders are still keen to escape if the city moves to Tier 2 next week.
Bachcare spokeswoman Zaina Razzaq said there had also been a decrease in Aucklanders bookings for the October and summer school holidays.
Coromandel, Taupo, Mt Ruapehu and Queenstown were the areas with the highest number of cancellations.
Bookabach travel expert Simone Scoppa said the vacation homes website has had a significant impact on school vacation bookings, with all bookings from Auckland travelers being canceled or rebooked for a later date.
Scoppa said missing Auckland travelers’ school vacations has been difficult, especially for vacation home owners in Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Auckland.
Future vacationers seemed to focus on summer vacations instead, with Book a Bach reporting a 39% increase in bookings for Christmas week and through the end of summer.
Aotearoa Hotel Council strategic director James Doolan said members’ comments were that Aucklanders were still reluctant to book anywhere and therefore hoteliers didn’t have much. hope for the school holidays.
There have been very few forward bookings from Aucklanders, he said.
“When blockages occur people tend to cancel reservations in advance due to uncertainty and our experience has shown us that you might expect to get 50% of those reservations back once things reopen. “
With each lockdown, people became more and more hostile to the risk of re-booking in case they were put back on lockdown.
“I think if you called 10 hotels you would get your head screwed out for booking each and everyone.”
“Travel overseas to Auckland – put a circle around that and it has effects everywhere. And it even affects the kinds of markets that went well during covid and without international travel because Aucklanders went there instead. “
The popular Lake Taupo Holiday Resort posted on Facebook yesterday that it has “rare availability” for this weekend since “the Aucklanders can’t come and play yet.”
Destination Great Lake Taupo general manager Jane Wilson said Auckland is the region’s largest national source market and accounts for up to 50% of bookings for part of its accommodation industry.
The biggest frustration and challenge for operators was uncertainty as to when Auckland would move alert levels and what they would look like, which resulted in reservation hesitation.
Event cancellations have in some cases hit accommodation providers even harder than school vacations, leaving some with large last-minute cancellations, she said.
Auckland tourist attractions gearing up for school holidays
The Auckland Zoo, the Auckland War Memorial Museum and Kelly Tarlton’s are all set to open on Level 2.
All three operators told the Herald they will open under Level 2 guidelines with mandatory masks, QR scanning and social distancing required.
The Auckland War Memorial Museum, Tāmaki Paenga Hira, would also open the museum’s galleries, including the international exhibition Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Ocean Predators below Level 2.
The museum will manage the capacity and adhere to strict hygienic precautions and a physical distance of at least two meters between visitors unknown to each other to ensure the health and well-being of all.
“After a long period of closure due to Level 4 and Level 3 blockages, we look forward to welcoming Aucklanders and visitors to the city into the museum,” said Auckland Museum Director General Dr David Gaimster.
Due to confined spaces, the Holocaust Gallery and the Volcano House remain closed.
School tours, public programs and on-site events are also canceled until the city is upgraded to Level 1.
Auckland Zoo Director Kevin Buley said if Auckland upgraded to Level 2 on Wednesday it would reopen from Thursday with specific Delta Government Level 2 regulations and zoo protocols in place.
Loyal annual zoo members will have the first opportunity to return and visit from Thursday October 7 through Sunday October 10 before the zoo reopens to general visitors on Monday October 11.
Some interior areas will be closed and there will be no talks with Guardians at Level 2 to help visitors maintain a physical distance between their bubbles.
Kelly Tarlton’s is also aiming to reopen at Level 2 with a range of health and safety measures in place, including reducing its daily ticket capacity to allow for social distancing.
The museum and zoo will be cashless and water fountains will be closed, while visitors to the zoo and Kelly Tarlton must pre-book online through the website.