The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

New Zealand hospitality sector hopes for big Easter after dismal summer

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The hospitality sector is looking to a big Easter weekend for a boost in earnings after a very disappointing summer.

A survey of Hospitality NZ’s 3000 members has revealed that nearly two-thirds had a revenue drop of at least 25% over summer as the borders remained closed.

Of those, 39% said revenue was down 50% or more compared to the summer of 2019/20.

In total, 82% of respondents to the survey said revenue was below the previous summer.
Hospitality NZ represents the whole hospitality sector, which includes cafes, bars, restaurants and accommodation providers.

Chief Executive Julie White says businesses are hoping Kiwis will be travelling and spending and help the sector make up for a disappointing holiday period.

“Cafes, restaurants, bars and accommodation providers all around New Zealand were pinning their hopes on a good summer to make up for a terrible 2020, but it didn’t happen for most.

“Summer wasn’t the silver bullet most were hoping for, and I fear what’s to come with winter on the way. How many businesses already weakened by months of no international tourists can recover from such revenue drops?

“We’re pinning our hopes on a strong Easter as the last big break between summer and winter, and we’re encouraging Kiwis to get out and have a great time and help out our struggling businesses at the same time.

“I’m seriously worried about the mental wellbeing of many members. They are beyond frustrated. They’re constantly stressed.”

White says that while a big Easter would make a difference, what the sector desperately needs is a trans-Tasman bubble as a matter of urgency.

“It’s time we learned to live with a bit of risk – businesses and livelihoods will suffer if we don’t.

“Businesses are closing every day our borders remain closed, and a trans-Tasman bubble will be the lifeline many need. They’re all hurting and need action now.”

Respondents to the survey, which was conducted from February 16-22, comprised 60% accommodation providers and 40% food & beverage.

Some 47% were small business owners, 44% medium, and 10% large. Some 77% were single-site venues.

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