Some accommodation providers in the Rotorua Lakes district are either full or nearly fully booked over Waitangi weekend despite the recent emergence of Omicron and the reintroduced red traffic light setting.
However, Hospitality NZ accommodation sector Bay of Plenty chairman Tony Bullot said there are motel bookings both in Rotorua and Tauranga that were down by 70 per cent this weekend.
Blue Lake Top 10 Holiday Park operation manager Kelsi Hira said they were almost fully booked with only three or four tent sites available out of more than 200 sites.
"We're stoked. Rotorua's weather forecast is not looking too promising but we still getting enquiries and I anticipate we will be full for Waitangi weekend.
"We operate 365 days a year and opened up our bookings for next summer on February 1 and our phones have not stopped ringing since."
Hira said the holiday park gets a lot of return visitors and takes a $50 fee to hold a booking until August which helped families wanting to secure a place for next summer.
Baycrest Lodge co-owner Barry Searle said his Taupō motel was fully booked for Waitangi weekend and expected to also be full todayas well.
Searle, who is also chairman of the Commercial Accommodation Providers in Taupō, said they had "really strong" bookings for January and February's bookings were looking strong as well.
"Despite the increase in Covid-19 and Omicron cases, I think people are just over it and are taking the attitude that staying in a motel is probably one of the safest places to be.
"We've had quite a few people phone us to ask about vacancies because one of Taupō's biggest concerts and sporting events had to be cancelled. We've had no difficulty filling these vacancies, and people needing a break just want to come anyway."
Searle said the cancellation of big events affected their bookings the most, but they had a different demographic of holidaymakers wanting to come to stay to fill those gaps.
Most moteliers he had spoken to were also fully booked for the weekend, he said.
However, some of those bookings were last-minute ones with guests calling the day or two before their intended visit, Searle said.
Lake Rotoiti Holiday Park's manager, who asked not to be named, said they were fully booked for the weekend and only had three campsites left.
"But we expect they will be snapped up pretty quickly, especially as the annual Wooden Boat Festival is being held on the lake this weekend, plus we always have a waiting list.
"We have been booked out for several months including last weekend which is excellent and it's great to see our visitors coming back year after year."
She said the park would close from the end of this month to holiday guests until July to accommodate kiwifruit pickers.
Tony Bullot, who owns 850 Cameron Rd Motel in Tauranga, said moteliers who expected to be fully booked this weekend were "very quiet', including his own motel.
He said the threat of a full-scale Omicron outbreak had prompted lots of people to cancel their holiday plans and last weekend was a "disaster" with lots of event cancellations.
"Even if people are double vaccinated or triple vaccinated with their booster shots, some are too scared to travel in case they get caught up in a Covid or Omicron lockdown.
"I get a feeling that people are not scared of the virus but they are scared of lockdowns.
"So they're pseudo-self-isolating by not travelling at all and it's having a significant flow-on effect for accommodation providers, as well as hospitality and tourism businesses."
The 10-day self-isolation requirement had definitely impacted people's decision-making and the cancellation of multiple popular events has compounded the problem.
"The loss of 70 per cent of our bookings means moteliers will be really struggling as we rely on this income to help get us through our normal quieter times of the year.
"However, the people I feel sorry for the most are all the restaurant/cafes owners, tourism operators and event organisers who have been really struggling for the past two years.
"These people will be really hurting. I think there will be a lot more business closures this year," Bullot said.