Wine tour operator gears up for ‘one percenters’ who can travel immediately
The owners of Marlborough Wine Tours, Jess and Dean Fielding, with their daughter Aleisha, hope that all industry players can develop a common strategy for the reopening of borders to tourists.
The owner of a wine tour business in Marlborough hopes to bring together different industry players to prepare a post-Covid recovery plan.
Dean Fielding, owner of Marlborough Wine Tours, said tour operators and wineries needed a common strategy to ‘live again’ now that New Zealand’s borders were about to open up to tourists again .
The government will open the New Zealand border to vaccinated Australian tourists from 11:59 p.m. on April 12. Tourists from visa-exempt countries, which include 61 countries and territories, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, will be able to arrive from 11:59 p.m. on May 1.
“We want to bring cellar door managers, owners and tour operators together to have an in-depth discussion about the future of cellar doors so that we as tour operators know what and how to plan moving forward.
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Fielding, who served in the Royal New Zealand Navy for 28 years, signed a two-year contract in June 2020 to work in managed isolation facilities, while his wife continued to run their business.
Fielding said they retained two of their five employees during the pandemic and began replacing their fleet of vehicles.
“The initial tourism that we are going to see returning to New Zealand will not be young travelers wanting to travel the world again because things are too expensive.
“It will be, as we say, the one percent of the world who can afford to travel immediately that we are going to see, and they will want a first class experience.
“And they are the ones who will transmit to the world what they have experienced post-Covid.
“So we have to get it right.”
Wine Tours By Bike owner Jo Hill was already on board Fielding and said the reopening of the border was a big step forward.
With 80% of her customers normally coming from abroad, Hill said she had remained positive over the past two years and would now focus on preparing to welcome international travelers.
“We will talk to the cellar doors to find out what they want, make sure we work together to create a package that will make Marlborough proud.
“A number of them [cellar doors] had to cut the number of people they had on duty just to keep going, so they’re going to have to start rehiring more people to get them back in line.
“So it’s good that we have this kind of warning that the border is about to open because it just means we can start planning now and be ready to go when it all happens,” he said. she declared.
The return of tourists to the country would be huge for everyone, Hill said.
“I don’t think we realize how many people have been affected by this [Covid and closed borders].
“The ripple effect of tourists coming to New Zealand, [they don’t] just spend it on accommodation and activities.
“They come on planes, they rent a car, they go to the supermarket… And we’ve all worked so hard to get what we have, I’m thrilled, it’s a huge ‘woah’.”