Casino and hotel operator SkyCity says the switch to the orange traffic light configuration is a significant step for the tourism and hospitality industry moving forward.
The new rules, which are now in effect, mean an end to all gathering limits, as well as the requirement that people be seated and spaced apart in restaurants.
SkyCity COO Callum Mallett said the company was delighted with the news.
He said more capacity will be available to accommodate more people, but warns customers it could take a few days for normal service to resume.
“The ability for customers to find those reservations in the time we have could be a challenge, but most operators will move fairly quickly to ensure they can accommodate as many guests as possible,” Mallett said.
Meanwhile, Australians are making advance bookings as normal travel between Australia and New Zealand resumes, but SkyCity doesn’t expect the floodgates to open immediately.
Australians can now enter New Zealand without isolating, provided they test negative for Covid-19 and are vaccinated.
Mallett said there were 250 advance bookings from Australians for his Auckland hotel last week and he expected that to grow.
But he said that while the numbers are low, it’s a big step forward for those visitors to be able to make reservations.
“Opening up the Australian market is a significant step because now, even if they don’t rush to book, there is an opportunity to do so and as airlines increase flight frequency we are really confident that the Australian market will come back with time to like it was before Covid,” Mallett said.
He said it will take even longer for the Asian market to recover and he does not expect headline numbers to come anywhere near pre-Covid levels in the coming summer.