Cruise ships are expected to return to NZ's Bay of Plenty in ~3 months’ time after 2,5-year hiatus due to the COVID crisis.
Tourism Bay of Plenty is expecting the first cruise vessel to berth at Port Tauranga (Rotorua) on October 26th.
According to Oscar Nathan (Tourism Bay of Plenty's general manager), the Tauranga port bookings were ‘subject to change,’ however, they expected to welcome 102 voyages during the upcoming 2022-2023 season.
That would bring ~332,000 passengers and crew into the Bay of Plenty which was exciting for the region, and particularly for the businesses that used to predominantly cater to cruise passengers and had been struggling to survive for the past two-and-a-half years while the maritime border had been closed.
Nathan said that during the most recent 2019-2020 season (shortened by the March 2020 COVID border closure) cruise ship calls had contributed ~$74 million to the region, and in the 2018-2019 season had brought $89M to the region.
“A lot of this money was spent on passenger transport, tourism activities, retail, and replenishing onboard supplies, so these types of businesses are eagerly anticipating the return of cruise.”
Nathan added that New Zealand was one of the last countries to fully open its borders (on July 31, 2022) which had caused the country to “lose ground” to other overseas destinations that resumed bookings months ago.