Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Kate Hawkesby: Now the bubble is open, who will take the risk?


Not that I want to gloat, again, OK I’m fully gloating, winning two bets in a row against my husband is just a little bit thrilling. The fact he misread the government not once but twice, is something I can’t just ignore. Especially when he bet against me, twice.

So we first of all had the announcement of the announcement as I bet there would be, then yesterday we had, as I rightfully bet again, a bubble opening on the 19th, just in time for school holidays. Two nil to me. I’m on a roll.

More importantly, the Trans Tasman bubble is finally opening, and not before time. I am thrilled for tourist operators, for separated families, for struggling businesses. The ads were rolling out on the radio mere minutes after the announcement of a date, “Come to Queensland..“ the ads were saying. And here’s what’ll be interesting, how many of us do actually jump on a plane and head across the Tasman these school holidays, now that we can? And on the flipside, how many Aussies come here?

I know of Kiwis already booking flights to head there, they just can’t wait to get on a plane and get into another country.

Personally though, I have no real desire to jump on a plane to Sydney or Melbourne or head to the Gold Coast just yet.

Not because I’m worried about Covid, that’s actually the least of my worries, it’s more because I don’t like inconvenience.

Queues, masks, temperature checks, the threat of a snap lockdown and getting stuck somewhere, having my holiday interrupted by politics. So I wonder how many are not in the ‘I need to travel’ category, who are just freestyling it for a nice wee break, a bit of shopping, to sit and look at some different scenery, who will actually pack up and go on a whim.

Because you’d have to weigh that in wouldn’t you? Can I afford to add an extra three days, minimum, to my trip, if I have to, if there’s an outbreak? Do I want to be stuck on the tarmac on a plane going nowhere because someone’s showing symptoms, or failed a temperature check? If you have plenty of time, money, nothing to lose and nowhere to be either side, if you’re immensely flexible, then no worries. But I’m not sure how many travellers are that carefree? I guess we’re about to find out.

I know there’s huge relief for those who’ve had to book MIQ spots and worry about the cost of that and the timeframe, they’ll be relieved that’s no longer a roadblock. But there’s still that niggly back of the mind possibility that your holiday could spiral out of your control in a nanosecond. It'll be good to see a few weeks with runs on the board of no drama, no delays, no lockdowns, and no issues. What we need is smooth sailing and a booming bubble.. to boost confidence that travel is back.. and it’s trouble free.

Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.

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