Making the most of post-lockdown West Coast hospitality and tourism

Deb Hartigan, Hospitality and Tourism Tutor

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There’s no doubt our lives have all changed since the Prime Minister announced at the end of March that New Zealand would move into a full lockdown to halt the COVID-19 pandemic. The news came fast and we all had to adapt quickly to a new way of living and working.

Four months later, we’re out of lockdown and working to recover. Our businesses have been affected, and many have had to shift and introduce new ways of working or delivering their services. Here on the West Coast, we’ve suddenly got a lot more takeaway or delivery options for food, beverages and other services. At the same time, our tourism businesses are shifting to focus on domestic customers and many retailers have gone online.

It can all seem a little overwhelming, but there’s an opportunity to make the most of new options and opportunities.

In our TPP hospitality programmes, we talk about COVID-19 all the time – it’s become part and parcel of running a business in New Zealand and business owners are making huge efforts to manage the situation. You might find your favourite local café or food outlet now offers takeaway, or you can shop online at one of our local stores. It’s worth sparing a little time to see what’s changed locally and what new services you might be able to use.

And there’s no doubt we must remain vigilant as the virus continue to spread around the world. I was speaking recently with the team that runs our local St Vincent de Paul – all ladies and mostly aged over 70, they’ve only just reopened and they’re staying cautious about the virus. Having these new online, takeaway or delivery services available for them is really important. We can do our bit to support the COVID-19 “vulnerable” people in our communities and help keep them safe by using the new technologies and options available through local businesses – if we all support them, they’ll keep offering the new options for everyone to use.

The Vinnie’s ladies are not likely to be travelling anytime soon, but many of us are using school holidays or annual leave to explore our own backyard. My husband and I recently visit Kaikōura – the whale watching boat was mostly filled with Kiwis and some had travelled from Auckland for the fun. Our West Coast tourism businesses will also be gearing-up to attract more local customers and it’s worth remembering that there’s plenty of amazing things to do right here at home.

So – what can you do to make the most of these new ways of working post-lockdown? Why not try:

  • Checking out any deals being offered by local tourism operators and getting behind our businesses.
  • Visit the new website www.nowopen.co.nz for details on West Coast businesses now operating online or delivering services in new ways.
  • Supporting your local restaurant or café – you might find you can pick-up and not even have to get dressed-up for dinner!