With the school holidays upon us, Rotorua's tourism operators are looking forward to welcoming plenty of happy faces.
And it can't come soon enough for many, still reeling from the impact of the second lockdown.
"We want the country to be healthy," Rotorua Canopy Tours general manager Paul Button said.
"We feel like tourism and hospitality have been the sacrifices of the health of the country and we get it. But in terms of the future, the economy being healthy also makes the people healthy."
In this Local Focus video, tourism operators explain the effect on their business when Aucklanders were unable to leave their city. It hit hard but popular Rotorua Canopy Tours found the regions stopped travelling too, so they lost almost all their business.
But for now, they are staying positive.
"We are pretty pumped and excited, even though sales and the emotional rollercoaster that we've been on has been really challenging," Button said.
It's a sentiment echoed by Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick, who says a healthy and vibrant tourism industry is vital for the entire region.
"The tourism sector in Rotorua has been buoyed by the domestic tourism which is 60 per cent of our usual tourism income," she said.
"We're very heartened that the spend here has really bucked the national average and is 16 per cent higher than it has been before."
The loss of international tourists has hurt some operators more than others. Tamaki Village cultural adviser Jamus Webster said lack of international tourists has had an immense impact, because it covers 95 per cent of their market.
"When Aucklanders are able to come, and of course the school holiday period starts . . .
this week, so it's two more weeks for them and we can't wait until we can welcome them," Chadwick said.
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