The prospect of Level 2 and its increased movement are still a distant prospect, but Tourism Industry Aotearoa is insisting any new freedoms proposed must include tourism and leisure activities.

TIA's chief executive Chris Roberts insists that we cannot afford to wait. Postponing until Level 1 could cost the economy thousands of jobs he says, putting New Zealand businesses at risk.

"Many tourism businesses will simply not be viable if stringent travel restrictions continue at Level 2," says Roberts.

Although there are provisions at level 2 for certain tourism activities such as kayaking and bungy jumping, Roberts says the restrictions on travel mean that there are few business will be viable if they cannot attract tourists from other parts of the country.

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"There's little point opening your business if you can only have locals as customers," the tourism body chief insists. "For example, only 2000 of the 25,000 Ruapehu ski season passholders live within 100km of the mountain."

The company's research shows that there is enough domestic demand for tourism to keep tourism businesses afloat. The study into the behaviour of 2400 travellers on behalf of the TIA shows last year 75 per cent of Kiwis took at least an overnight trip in New Zealand for leisure.

However, Roberts insists that if we do not allow New Zealanders to support tourism operators many will no be able to survive until borders re-open and inbound travel resumes.

"The next few months will be an amazing opportunity for Kiwis to experience the best New Zealand has to offer – and have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to save the livelihoods of other Kiwis," he said.

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts says tourism won't survive the wait until Level 1. Photo / Supplied
TIA chief executive Chris Roberts says tourism won't survive the wait until Level 1. Photo / Supplied

"We are calling on the Government to take a sensible and safe approach to kick-starting our recovery."

While the PM Jacinda Ardern has said that there will be another review of the rules, including those covering travel, before New Zealand enters level 2 to make sure they are appropriate.

However, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has said that work was "underway on what life will look like in Alert Level 2" however he said that "MBIE and TNZ are working with DOC and the industry to help reimagine what the future of tourism should look" but he didn't there would not be an update until we were closer to changing alert levels.

Level 2: What it means for travellers

Under the 'Reduce' phase of the government's response to Covid 19, there will be new freedoms for and leisure makers. However, domestic travel will be impacted and much altered to how it was before lockdown.

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Gatherings of up to 500 people will be allowed to happen in public places outdoors and 100 people indoors – providing organisers follow public health guidelines. This includes registering and contact tracing attendees.

Public transport, including coaches, will have to allow for at least 1 metre of physical distancing between members of different households.

However, inter-regional travel is discouraged unless essential meaning most New Zealand breaks will still be out of reach.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website