Coronavirus - important information

As you will be aware, the Coronavirus has spread across China and has now had confirmed cases in Australia and beyond. China’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture has notified tourism bureaus in China to suspend the operation of group tour and flight and accommodation packages. These relate to both domestic and outbound travel. The notice permits groups who have already commenced their travel to continue with their trip. As a result, we encourage industry to liaise with Chinese partners and travel sellers on how the notice may affect upcoming tour arrivals.

It is not yet known how each province in China will implement the temporary suspension so we don’t exactly know how it will impact arrivals at this stage, but it could significantly impact short-term Chinese arrivals. At a time when the industry was gearing up for increased Chinese arrivals we know this news is likely to cause some operators some concern.

From Monday 3 February, all foreign travellers from China, or those transitting through, have been banned from entering New Zealand for the next 14 days, with review every 48 hours. New Zealand citizens and permanent residents, and their immediate family members, will be allowed to enter the country, but would be required to isolate themselves for 14 days.

As of Monday 24 February, these travel restrictions would continue for a further eight days, with the position to be reviewed every 48 hours.

Ministry of Health

  • There are no confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in New Zealand to date but the likelihood of importing a case is high but the Ministry of Health is monitoring the situation closely.
  • Please familiarise yourself with the Ministry of Health of guidelines and be extra vigilant about any guests you might notice that are unwell.
  • The Ministry of Health has produced a fact sheet for travellers in both English and Chinese and has set up a Facebook page to alert people to key updates and messaging specifically about coronavirus.
  • The Ministry of Health has offered more clarity around self-isolation. Travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days from when they left Wuhan or the Hubei Province. People who have come from elsewhere in mainland China need not self-isolate, unless they were in mainland China after 2 February. The Ministry of Health is strongly encouraging people in self-isolation, as a result of their travel to China, to register through Healthline on 0800 358 5453

World Health Organisation

  • The World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Check the WHO website for further updates and advice. 

Tourism Operator Information

  • The way New Zealand manages any cancellations will be extremely important. Advice from TIA is that processing any cancellations with understanding and offering our welcome for future travel will set us apart and help us secure future business.
  • If a case of coronavirus is suspected, operators or travellers should contact local district health board public health units which are staffed 24 hours. If urgent and you are unable to reach a local public health unit, call Health Line 0800 611 116 (Healthline has Mandarin and Cantonese speakers – anyone calling Healthline will be able to speak in their language.)
  • If a traveller is identified as having been in contact with a confirmed case then the local public health unit will contact them, assess their health and provide advice.
  • If you are receiving significant cancellations it would be extremely helpful if you could share that information with us info@waikatonz.com and TIA info@tia.org.nz so we can collate and assess the situation.
  • Keep an eye on Tourism Industry Aotearoa's website for the latest updates. 
  • The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) have released a Tourism Data Fact Sheet relating to coronavirus impact

Tourism New Zealand

Tourism New Zealand is taking action to encourage growth from other markets while travel restrictions from China are in place. 

  • Short term work: Australia, as our largest short-haul market, will be a strong focus in the immediate future. TNZ will look to partner with industry to help fund and coordinate a new campaign targeting the upcoming shoulder season. TNZ will also collaborate with their global digital media partners and direct to consumer channels to implement a new global audience strategy. 
  • Medium to long term work: TNZ will be looking to take advantage of the positive sentiment following their successful world cup activity in Japan, increasing investment in this market. TNZ are also looking to capitalise on new airline routes in the US and explore options to build on positive market sentiment movements in the UK.
  • On Monday 17 February, Government announced a $10 million funding package for Tourism New Zealand to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 and to encourage growth from other markets.
  • In addition, Government also approved a $1 million funding package to encourage domestic tourism for areas most affected that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will manage.
  • Keep an eye on Tourism New Zealand's website for the latest updates. 

Travel Information

  • The Ministry for Foreign Affairs & Trade is advising against all travel to China. Stay up-to-date on travel advisories on the SafeTravel website.
  • In response to the coronavirus outbreak, New Zealand Customs has advised that all travellers entering New Zealand will be required to be individually manually processed, including New Zealand citizens, and no travellers will be allowed to use eGates. Major delays are likely.

FAQs

  • China is our fourth largest international visitor market and currently spend $52.6m per annum in our region (year ending November 2019)
  • It is currently the Chinese New Year celebration which has traditionally been our busiest time of the year for Chinese visitor arrivals into New Zealand.  However, with the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus, we are nationally and regionally starting to experience the impact of suspended tour groups heading outside of China. This does not affect groups who have already commenced their travel plans.
  • The Waikato also sees a diverse range of international markets. Australia is our number one international visitor market with UK/Europe our second largest and the Americas (USA/Canada/Central & South America) at third, with China at fourth.

This page was last updated on 25th February at 5.00pm