Ski operators are delighted by border opening news after a difficult patch for snow tourism.
The border reopening is a silver lining to the blizzard of bad news that has hit New Zealand's ski resorts over the past two years.
Today's border opening announcement is primed in time for Australians to start planning a holiday to the ski fields. As the Prime Minister said, it would be "a boon for Queenstown" and other areas that depend on seasonal visitors.
With two seasons that have seen Australian holiday makers mostly shut out, the ski industry has welcomed the news as a potential boost for the region.
"Australia makes up about 40 per cent of the visitation into Queenstown during ski season," said NZ Ski's chief executive Paul Anderson.
While it has been supported by strong domestic support, the area's winter hospitality and tourism has historically relied on inbound travellers.
"The big change is the removal of the self-isolation component, that makes it more realistic to travel for a ski holiday," he said.
New Zealand's South Island resorts are already seeing interest from across the Tasman and beyond. Lead-in indicators have shown that Australians are ready to return.
Accommodation in the Queenstown area has seen lots of enquiries from across the Ditch, and were just waiting for that final confirmation. Bachcare says it has seen 330 per cent rise in demand following the February announcement on reopening to international travellers.
Cardrona, one of the earliest opening slopes, has sent the message that they will be ready and open for Australians come the end of June.
The ski field's GM of Experience, Laura Hedley says that they know many loyal Australian skiers will be itching to get back after two abortive seasons.
The Transtasman Bubble which had been a big hope for ski operators in Winter 2021 failed to deliver, followed by the August lockdown in New Zealand that shut most of the country's skiing.
"We had a couple of parties from Australia which coincided with a bad start to our snow last year, but the bubble burst pretty quick in the season," she said.
New Zealand skiing is already being promoted in Australia and it is hoped that this will bring both skiers and seasonal workers to the snow fields.
"We're going through our recruitment at the moment," said Hedley.
"We used to rely heavily on a pool of working holiday visas, so the announcement is hopefully going to help."
Ski resorts will be ready for opening dates
NZ Ski's operations in Queenstown and Mt Hutt have had some problems with seasonal staffing.
Paul Anderson described the labour market as "tough", particularly for ski instructors and other specific skills.
"We've spent a lot of time training up New Zealand based crew, and we're hoping to see some of them return," he said.
"We hire a lot of snow-sport specific staff from the likes of Canada and the US and the UK and, with the recent changes, we'll be able to see them too - which is great news."
The Cardrona and Treble Cone say they have been extremely grateful for the support of new Zealanders who have helped them through two difficult seasons.
"After the first year we were relieved to see that ski was strong, no matter what."
"We've made investments in our snow machines and snow making capabilities. So, we'll be able to open when we say we're open."
Cardrona's ski fields opening dates are from 11 June and Treble Cone from 25 June.
NZ Ski's fields are set to restart on 18 June at the Remarkables and 17 June at Coronet Peak in Queenstown.
Mt Hutt would be open in Canterbury from 10 June.