A Tauranga tourism operator is pleading for cruise ships to be included in the transtasman bubble.
However, the Government has "explicitly excluded" cruise ships from participating in the quarantine-free travel arrangement between Australia and New Zealand.
There is currently no date set for reopening the maritime border.
The office of Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins said in a statement: "At this time, cruise ships are explicitly excluded from participating in the quarantine-free travel arrangement between Australia and New Zealand. At this stage, there's no timeframe for when this may alter."
Waimarino Group director Blair Anderson told the Bay of Plenty Times more than a third of his business came from cruise ship passengers.
"Businesses can't operate like this. It squashes the entrepreneurial spirit. We have retrenched and downsized. It's a 10-year setback."
Anderson said since the announcement of the transtasman bubble, Waimarino had seen a glimmer of hope with some bookings but the future was still uncertain.
"We've had a couple of pre-bookings for later in the year in October but that's still six months away."
In the season before the 2020 closure, Tourism Bay of Plenty recorded 105 ships visiting the Port of Tauranga, bringing a total of 183,243 visitors to our shores according to figures provided by Tourism Bay of Plenty.
Visitors to the Bay injected $1 billion into the local economy between October 2019 and January 2020. Cruise ship passengers accounted for about 7 per cent of that figure.
According to Rotorua Economic Development, about 35 to 40 per cent of those passengers also chose to visit Rotorua.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said Waimarino was not the only business struggling with the exclusion of cruise ships from quarantine-free travel.
"Some operators have adapted by re-purposing their venue or vehicles.
"Other businesses have hibernated, but unfortunately other businesses have had to close."
Cowley said opening the maritime border would be mean a lot for the tourism and hospitality sector.
"It would breathe life into many businesses living below the line.
"The Government needs to better communicate its plan to allow tourists so businesses can decide with their banks whether to stay alive or call it quits."
Skyline Rotorua general manager Andrew Jensen said Skyline recorded an increase in Australian visitors to its website since the transtasman bubble announcement.
"If it was deemed safe to operate a transtasman cruise ship bubble, this would undoubtedly provide a visitation boost to Skyline Rotorua and other tourism-related businesses within the wider Bay of Plenty."
Te Puia's general manager sales and marketing Sean Marsh said the situation was "complex".
"We know Government and industry are watching the resumption of international cruise schedules with interest and to understand how a cruise schedule may be able to recommence in Aotearoa as well.
"As long as there are robust systems in place to protect our communities, we would warmly welcome domestic and international cruise manuhiri [visitors] and remain hopeful that we can get some certainty around this sooner rather than later."
Mount Mainstreet chairwoman Kim Renshaw told the Bay of Plenty Times she wanted to be sure there was a consistent approach moving forward.
"I think at this stage, this is all speculation. I don't want to get people's hopes up. Businesses have been trying to transition to other revenue streams. The worst thing that could happen is that there is influx that is then revoked. The most important thing is consistency."
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said safety was the first priority.
"If it can be done safely, then why not? It would definitely bring a sorely needed help to our long-suffering tourism professionals in Rotorua."
New Zealand Cruise Association chief executive Kevin O'Sullivan told RNZ on Tuesday a meeting will take place with the Minister of Tourism Stuart Nash next month.
"Quite a few a things have to happen - there has to be a political will from Government to enable crews to begin, and there also has to be a change to regulations to enable cruise ships to come into New Zealand waters."
In the meantime, preparations were under way for the transtasman air bubble opening on Monday.
"We're excited to welcome our Aussie mates from across the ditch with a warm 'Kia ora' and Bay of Plenty manaakitanga," Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne said.
"Australian visitors were the Coastal Bay of Plenty's most significant international market prior to the Covid-19 border closures. Our tourism industry is eagerly awaiting their return."
Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty said regional centres around New Zealand will benefit from a transtasman bubble.
"In 2019, we flew roughly 19,600 passengers from Australia to and from Tauranga, underlining the importance of transtasman tourism to places like Bay of Plenty."
"In the days following the bubble announcement, we saw tens of thousands of customers book flights to Aotearoa and we expect many of them to visit places like Bay of Plenty."