Orange light setting: SkyCity thrilled but warns time needed to prepare
The casino and hotel operator SkyCity says the move to the orange traffic light setting is a significant step for the tourism and hospitality industry to move forward.
The new rules, which are now in effect, mean the end of all gathering limits - as well as the requirement that people be seated and separated in restaurants.
SkyCity chief operating officer Callum Mallett said the company was thrilled with the news.
He said there will be more capacity available to accommodate more people but warns customers it might take a few days for normal service to resume.
"The ability for customers to find those bookings in the time that we have could be challenging but most operators will move pretty quickly to ensure they can welcome as many guests as possible," Mallett said.
Meanwhile, Australians are making forward bookings as normal travel resumes between it and New Zealand, but SkyCity is not expecting the floodgates to open straight away.
Australians can now enter New Zealand without isolating, provided they test negative for Covid-19 and are vaccinated.
Mallett said there were 250 forward bookings from Australians for its Auckland hotel last week and he expected it to grow.
But he said while numbers are low, it's a huge leap forward for those visitors to be able to make bookings.
"The Australian market being open is a significant step because now even if they don't rush to book, the opportunity exists for them to book and as airlines increase frequency of flights we're really confident that the Australian market over time will return to like it was pre-Covid," Mallett said.
He said the Asian market will take even longer to recover, and isn't expecting overall numbers to be anywhere near pre-Covid levels in the upcoming summer.