Tauranga hostel Wanderlust New Zealand’s manager Davide Mantineo and owner Sarah Meadows. Photo / Mead Norton
There were times during the border closure when a Rotorua hostel was operating at 3 per cent capacity.
But if the last few months’ bounce-back with backpackers is anything to go by, things are looking positive for summer.
The number of backpacker hostels in New Zealand has dropped significantly since the pandemic began and borders shut, but for those still operating, demand has been high over the last month.
The owner of Rotorua’s Rock Solid Backpackers, Belinda Hargreaves, said visa holders looking to stay for longer than a few weeks struggled to find accommodation, and so building staff back up had been slow.
But occupancy was another story.
She had made the decision to remain open for domestic visitors during the border closure, and had been running at just 3 per cent occupancy.
“It’s been terrible. It’s been dire.”
In the last few months, however, this had jumped up to between 60 and 100 per cent.
The first Kiwi Experience bus would be rolling through in the next few days, bringing with it 55 guests.
She said the backpackers had been busy: “It’s all looking very positive for summer.”
According to Rotorua NZ’s list of accommodation providers, of the 14 listed backpackers, two were operating, two were closed and 10 were listed as providing emergency housing.
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