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The New Zealand Tourism Experiment

500-euro vouchers provided by the government for family travel that are tax deductible, discounts on hotels and flights, and no quarantines for foreign visitors? Each country tries to attract tourism differently by adopting different measures, some more viable and others more far-fetched. New Zealand is studying the implementation of four-day working weeks to promote domestic tourism in particular and the country’s economy in general.

The initiative has been put forward by the nation’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, who half the world has lauded for her good management of the global coronavirus crisis. One of the strictest approaches on the planet regarding restrictions was the key to success, as the borders were completely closed as soon as the pandemic was known to have progressed. It also forced a 14-day quarantine on all travellers arriving in the country, whether domestic or foreign. It did not allow any cruise ships to arrive in its ports and, as the virus subsided, it created social bubbles among small groups of people.

Four Days, Longer Weekends

So, little by little, she has managed to keep the disease at bay, and now she wants to revive the economy and tourism by implementing another series of innovative measures. Such as reducing the working week to four days. Tourism in the country accounts for 5.6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) directly and 4.3% indirectly, which in terms of employees is equivalent to nearly 200,000 people. In other words, eight out of every 100 workers.

For this reason, Ardern has called on employers in the sector to consider the possibility of reducing the working day, which would allow more free time, promoting domestic tourism, family reconciliation and enjoyment with friends away from home after such a long period of confinement. In a video posted on Facebook, the prime minister asks the public for any proposals to improve the economy.

Rekindling Tourism

The tourism sector has welcomed the proposal, suffering from the lack of foreign tourists due to the border closures. In addition, Ardern talks of flexibility in implementing the reduction in working time, either by limiting it to four working days or by articulating more public holidays throughout the working calendar. On the other hand, New Zealand is also considering creating a tourism corridor with Australia, one of the countries with which it has the best institutional, commercial and tourism relations, as they are its main markets in this field.

Australians account for around 40 per cent of international arrivals to New Zealand and are its number one tourist market. Australians account for 15% of Australia’s tourism, ranking second in terms of foreign travellers. This would be the Tran-Tasmania corridor. In other words, a bubble would be created to allow free travel only between the citizens of the two countries, given the good figures of coronaviruses in both countries.