How did the pandemic affect hotels in the Asia-Pacific region?City hotels in Japan saw hotel occupancy drop by approximately half during the pandemic, and Australia saw significant reductions in the numbers of domestic overnight trips, as well as tourism spending as a result. New South Wales, for example, saw reductions of a quarter in overnight tourism from within the state, around 60 percent from other states, and just over 80 percent internationally. These numbers were echoed similarly across every other state and territory nationally. The situation was similar in New Zealand, a country that is heavily reliant on international tourism.
The effect on New Zealand hotelsBefore the pandemic began to take hold, hotels in the country enjoyed an average national occupancy rate of around 78 percent, with rates exceeding 80 percent in Queenstown and Auckland. Auckland attracted around 1.8 million international visitors in 2019. Northland hotels recognized a total of over 90 thousand guest nights in the same year, well over half of which were domestic guest nights.
To prevent the coronavirus from spreading throughout the country, New Zealand closed its borders to non-residents on March 19, 2020. The border has been effectively closed since then and looks likely to remain that way until the end of 2022 at least. Along with short periods of nationwide lockdown, this has significantly reduced the number of international and domestic hotel guests and made a considerable impact on the tourism industry in general. Nevertheless, the country has tried to promote domestic tourism through multiple nationwide campaigns to encourage Kiwis to support the industry through domestic holidays. Furthermore, returning citizens have to go into two weeks of managed isolation in commercial hotels that have been adapted into COVID-19 quarantine facilities.
The industry has shown signs of recovery; from 2020 to 2021, establishments in most cities noted varying degrees of increase in occupancy rates, with Wellington hotels experiencing the largest growth rate. Most businesses in the tourism sector said they needed at least half of their pre-COVD income in order to remain viable and stated the importance of both the trans-Tasman travel bubble and international tourism generally.