1 August 2022

The borders are open, now we need the people

Today marks the first time in nearly two and a half years that the New Zealand border is fully open to the rest of the world.


“The reopening of the border to tourists, students and visitors from any country in the world is a significant milestone – and signals that New Zealand is back in business,“ says Leeann Watson, Chief Executive of Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.


“Tourism is a critical component of our economy.  In the year preceding the border closure international visitors contributed $296.8 million to our regional economy and contributed 8.4% of total employment throughout New Zealand.


“Reopening the border is one step.  We also need the people. 


“In order to attract tourists back to New Zealand, it is important that we do what we can to remain attractive and competitive in a global market, all of whom have opened ahead of New Zealand.  It has been great to see the arrivals from Australia over the last month for the ski fields and we hope this will continue over the summer months.


“The ease of entering New Zealand, the time and resource required to get the rubber stamp from immigration, the cost of visiting and living while here, and the provision of tourism infrastructure are all equally important. 


“After two and half years operating at a reduced capacity, we remain concerned that the seventy-five percent of Canterbury business who are finding it more difficult to acquire new staff than this time last year, will face difficulties operating if they do not have sufficient staff available to meet demand, which will ultimately also impact on tourist experiences when visiting.  


“We look forward to welcoming visitors to our part of the world and commend the Government for reopening the border in full, however, it’s just one piece of the puzzle and there is still more work to do.”


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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Leeann Watson, Chief Executive, 027 447 7775, [email protected]

The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber) is a not-for-profit membership-based service organisation that has been the home and voice of business in the Canterbury region since 1859. Comprised of over 2,600 member organisations that represent over 60,000 employees, The Chamber’s purpose is to empower people in business by providing advisory and consultancy support in employment relations, human resources, health and safety, international trade, manufacturing, migrant support, research and development grants, and training and development in many areas.