Mytchall Bransgrove / Stuff
The Hermitage in Aoraki/Mount Cook was full until April 23 before it was announced that New Zealand would switch to an amber traffic light setting. (File photo)
Accommodation providers in South Canterbury are delighted the government is easing the country’s Covid-19 restrictions ahead of the Easter holiday period – with some already reporting no vacancies.
Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins announced that all of New Zealand would switch to the amber light setting from 11.59pm on Wednesday. At orange, there is no capacity limit for outdoor and indoor sites.
Hospitality NZ South Canterbury accommodation sector spokesman and owner of Bay Viaduct Motor Lodge in Timaru, Noel Stafford, said he was very pleased with the switch to the amber light setting and said it would benefit to other sectors as well as to his own.
“It’s good news and now more people would be inclined to come out. Things are better than… 24 hours ago.
“It would benefit everyone. More so the restaurants,” Stafford said.
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He said bookings at Timaru still looked “sweet” for the holidays, but given Wednesday’s change, he hoped that might change.
“I hope there are late bookings and it resumes soon. It also depends on the weather, which would make more people willing to travel.
Meanwhile, in the Mackenzie, bookings were already strong for Easter and school holidays – with some vendors fully booked.
The Hermitage of Aoraki/Mt Cook is fully booked until April 23, and general manager Simon Douthett said New Zealand has largely supported the hotel throughout the pandemic.
“It’s not only during the holiday season, but also at other times.
“It’s nice to see the demand, and we look forward to meeting the needs of Australian travelers as well. We’re excited about the future,” Douthett said.
He said they have also seen an increase in demand for the various experiences offered by the hotel.
Douthett said Wednesday’s announcement was nice to hear and would give the hotel more flexibility with its restaurant, allowing it to meet the needs of people outside the hotel as well.
“We are looking for better this weekend for the restaurant. With room availability, we would assess our resources to accommodate more people during school holidays.
Mackenzie Apartments owner Ivan Johnston said his Tekapo accommodation was nearly full until April 25, with just one or two nights remaining.
“It’s a real mix of early bookings and people still coming in,” Johnston said.
“For this period it’s great, but in May and June it will become very quiet because there are no overseas travelers and no Kiwis will travel in May and June.”
“It will drop dramatically, and we will see how it goes from July. I don’t expect much to happen before July.
Johnston, who has owned the business for six years, said the flow of people will depend on the Australian market and they tend to keep a good sense of what’s going on.
The manager of The Avenue Motor Lodge in Timaru, Laney Miller, said reservations were looking “very good” and there were a few rooms left.
Miller said they were about three-quarters full and would fill up as the holidays approached.
She said they had enjoyed strong bookings for some time.
“We have been full for quite a while. We have regular customers, and we offer evening meals, lunch and a few additional services.”
Miller said it’s been a “waiting game” for room reservations because people aren’t planning ahead because of Covid-19.
Fairlie Holiday Park owner Mary Jane said they weren’t full for the holiday period, but she hopes people will come.
“The domestic market doesn’t travel as much as it used to,” Jane said.
Jane said Covid-19 has affected business and believes fear of Covid-19 is what keeps people from travelling.