Holiday Parks Provide Safe Travel Options As Lockdown Eases
Having operated safely throughout Levels 4 and 3 as essential services, holiday parks are well placed to provide safe options for domestic travel at Level 2, says Holiday Parks New Zealand (HPNZ).
“Holiday parks around the country are exceptionally well prepared to begin hosting domestic travellers,” says HPNZ Chief Executive Fergus Brown. “Throughout lockdown they have proven their commitment to safety, ensuring social distancing and good hygiene, and there is no reason this can’t continue while allowing New Zealanders some well-earned freedom at Level 2.”
Mr Brown says the health and safety of New Zealanders is paramount and he hopes the Level 2 guidelines announced later this week will allow for safe domestic travel, which he says the Government needs to prioritise.
For that reason, he says free camping sites should not be allowed to reopen at Level 2, as they cannot be managed sufficiently to ensure social distancing, hygiene and contact tracing.
“Travellers should instead be encouraged to support holiday parks and other commercial accommodation, helping protect Kiwi businesses and jobs,” says Mr Brown. “Going forward, the tourism industry is beginning work reimagining tourism ahead of a post-COVID-19 world, and there is a fantastic opportunity to reimagine freedom camping and how that should be managed in future.”
Responses to a recent member survey by Tourism Industry Aotearoa indicate that half of all tourism jobs could be lost in the short-term response to COVID-19. Up to 200,000 of the jobs currently supported by tourism may go. The impact on communities from losing tourism businesses and jobs is expected to be immense, especially in many smaller towns with a large reliance on the visitor economy.
“Many people will be in need of a break away from home following the strict lockdown period, and domestic travel at Level 2 provides an opportunity to safely support local businesses and Kiwi livelihoods while getting some normality back post-lockdown.”
Mr Brown hopes holiday parks will be given clear processes in good time from the Government, so they can begin taking bookings as soon as possible and implement further safety measures, such as contact tracing.