For the last decade it has been unthinkable that I could or would be more than a few short weeks without boarding a plane for work or play. This Jetset life ended abruptly in March 2020, when I, along with around 5 million other Kiwis, became securely (and in my case gratefully) grounded here until further notice.
In the financial year ending March 2019, Tourism accounted for 5.8% of our nation’s GDP and sent $16.2 billion NZD circulating through our economy.
That tap has all but dried up for the time being.
While nobody knows what tomorrow will bring, this is absolutely the time to be planning and preparing for a cleaner, kinder, more resilient and robust tomorrow for Aotearoa.
While we take this rare and unforeseen opportunity to reflect on what has been and what could be ahead of us, can I also implore you to get amongst it and go and see friends family and partake in enjoying any number of locations and attractions.
This is the perfect time for us to be exploring our own back yard.
While it took me several weeks to adjust to the idea of being out of lockdown (not because of germs or transmission, I just really enjoyed isolation with my bubble) I am now furiously planning activities and adventures. We have a ski trip, thermal road trip, meaningful meanderings, and several romantic journeys lined up to enjoy over the next few months.
A girls weekend in the far north and a blissful couples adventure on the West Coast of the South Island has whet my appetite for travel and adventure in our stunning and varied back yard. We’ve had the whole place to ourselves just about anywhere we have happened to be. It has been wonderful, if not a bit surreal, to escape the crowds but it has also crystallised in my mind the importance of domestic dollars being spent to keep our local tourist spots viable until the borders reopen.
Tomorrow we will head up to the Matakana Treehouse to visit our tenants (who have, unsurprisingly become friends) and then perhaps go on a lovely walk out in Tawharanui or the Dome Valley. Monday my daughter and her bestie have accosted me to be the bus driver and we are op-shopping on K-road and maybe take in a museum or gallery as well. Tuesday after my BNI meeting I am packing the 15, 13 and 6 year olds into our EV for a carbon neutral adventure to Tirau. Yep, you heard it right. Tirau. Hot pools then antique shopping and we are all pretty excited. Then lunch with friends in Hamilton before heading back home to prepare for the trip to Rotorua with the teenagers in tow.
Accommodation has not been so available or affordable in decades and there’s fun to be had on any budget. Day trips or a journey to visit some of the whanau you haven’t caught up with in a while can keep the pennies in your pocket, or you can splash out on luxury spa weekends that would have been booked out or out of reach when we were competing with deep pockets of wealthy overseas visitors.
I’ll wrap up for today. Just needed to say that this is a great time to get out and about in our pacific paradise. Might see you out there sometime soon! Wave if you spot LOLGAS.