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11 May 2022: Cautious optimism as NZ cruise sector gets green light

After two years of closed maritime borders, today’s news that cruise ships can return to Aotearoa’s waters without restrictions from 31 July has been greeted with a sense of cautious optimism and relief, says the New Zealand Cruise Association.

The Prime Minister’s announcement that the maritime border will reopen without added restrictions means cruise lines can start confirming port calls and preparing ships with certainty, says the Association’s Chair Debbie Summers. 

“New Zealand is an important destination for cruise lines and with worldwide demand for cruising strong again, combined with excellent regional dispersal, this sector ticks every box for value.

“After two years of hardship, hundreds of Kiwi ship suppliers and tourism operators can start rebuilding their businesses back, helping communities that have suffered during our pandemic years and begin preparing with confidence to provide our top service to cruise visitors.”

Ms Summers says after such a long absence of cruise ships from our shores, opening the maritime border is only the beginning. To ensure the cruise sector is delivering a fantastic visitor experience will require a commitment and extremely hard work from ports, inbound tour operators, Regional Tourism Organisations, local tour operators, and the thousands of people in every region who work to make our immersive cruise experiences a success.

“The return of cruise will be welcomed by many communities around the country, especially those regions where cruise makes up a large part of their tourism like Northland, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Picton, Timaru and Rakiura Stewart Island.”

She says cruise will be a significant source of tourism for 2022/23. It is going to play a vital role in the tourism industry’s recovery, bringing calmer seas for everyone.