A Bay of Plenty tourism business says they might as well kiss the rest of the cruise ship season goodbye amid the coronavirus fallout.
However, another is not fearing the worst yet.
Business experts say the silver lining of Covid-19 was it had hit at the end of the peak cruise season and things could have been worse.
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The comments come after cruise company Princess Cruises paused global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months, affecting voyages departing March 12 to May 10, amid the worldwide spread of Covid-19.
A Port of Tauranga spokeswoman said four Princess Cruise ships were scheduled to arrive in the city by the end of the season, including the Ruby Princess' arrival on Monday. Information about whether any of the visits would be cancelled was yet to be confirmed but the spokeswoman said they expected the visits to be affected.
Tourism Bay of Plenty's Kath Low said three additional ships had berthed in Tauranga because of rerouting.
This included a ship that was diverted from Vanuatu earlier in the month as passengers on board were sick with influenza and a cruise ship with no passengers will stay in Tauranga for five nights this week.
Low said tourism industry members were meeting on Thursday to discuss the local impact of Covid-19.
One Tauranga business owner, who would not be named, estimated more than 120 people had cancelled their bookings during the next two weeks. That included 85 bookings from one ship.
"You might as well forget about the rest of the season," he said.
"We're just going to lose business and we're not going to make any money, we'll actually lose money. Hopefully, everything rectifies itself during the year and we can move forward."
Tauranga-based Amazing Day Tours owner Bruce Remnant also expected a slight downturn after a number of cancellations.
"It's a wait-and-see game," he said.
All customers were given a full refund and he hoped they would re-book next year.
Remnant said it was fortunate the virus flared up towards the end of the cruise season, which ends in mid-April.
He said he hoped there were no long-term ramifications on the perception of cruising because of the coronavirus.
Cruise company Viking has also temporarily suspended river and ocean cruises until May 1 in response to Covid-19.
A media spokeswoman said there were no scheduled calls to Tauranga for the remainder of the 2019/2020 summer cruise season.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said the silver lining to the Covid-19 fallout was that it had hit New Zealand at the end of the peak cruise season.
"While cutting our cruise season short is never a good thing, the situation could have been worse. All hopes are on things being back to normal by the next cruise season starting in October."
Cowley said the wider Bay tourism market, including Rotorua and Whakatāne, was particularly vulnerable because of an industry slowdown and a drop in international tourist stays.
"Tourist operators, retailers and hospitality will need to focus on the local market for the next three to six months.
Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said cruise ships were a small part of the Western Bay of Plenty economy and this sector was not one of their main concerns.
"While the Covid-19 impacts are hard to spot, our main concern is for small to medium-sized businesses that are experiencing supply chain disruption and exporters."
However, Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer said cruise ship passengers were a "significant contributor" to the area's visitor economy, so a halt in cruise ship stops would have an impact.
An Insurance Council of New Zealand spokeswoman said people were still urged to buy travel insurance as it still offered cover for other unforeseen events, such as injury or lost baggage.
People should also buy travel insurance from when tickets were purchased and not just from when the trip began and should research the different cover available.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade SafeTravel advice, New Zealanders are told to reconsider taking an overseas cruise due to Covid-19 as it could spread quickly onboard cruise ships because of the close contact between passengers.
If travellers chose to continue with their cruise, they were told to contact their travel agent or cruise operator for specific information.
The Cruise Lines International Association website outlines the protocols member cruise ships were required to put in place for the health and safety of passengers and crew.
Survey highlights the help local businesses need
This week, the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey of the local business community to help understand how businesses could be affected by Covid-19 and what support they would need.
Chamber chief executive Matt Cowley said 148 people responded and 76 were from Tauranga. Most businesses were from the manufacturing and professional service sectors, followed by education, tourism and retail, and horticulture.
Common aspects affected by Covid-19
• Staff wellbeing.
• Short-term cash flow.
• Reduction in customers.
Common areas of concern
• Visiting customers overseas or travelling for work (affected by travel).
• Supply chain issues for customers having a flow-on effect to the business.
• Staff losses if turnover dramatically reduces.
• Reduction in backpackers looking for employment.
• Clients or staff being unwell or admitted to hospital.
Common answers for areas of support that would be beneficial
• Insurance cover for travelling staff.
• A test to quickly tell whether an employee had Covid-19 or a common cold.
• Support for business model reassessment.
• How to keep operating if staff had to self-isolate.
• How to manage areas where staff can't work from home and the impact this will have on cash flow.
• Staff and client retention.
• New marketing methods to help diversify products on offer.
• Receiving clear, correct and up-to-date information.