On the 23rd March after 19 years of continuous operation, Oz Jet in Sydney closed temporarily to the public due to COVID-19. I guess their numbers were already down, but more relevant is that there is little chance you can go on a ride like this and not come in close contact with your neighbours! I’ve highlighted Oz Jet rather than a kiwi thrill ride company to illustrate how global the thrill-ride industry is and how universal the impact is. Oz Jet are also staunch HamiltonJet supporters and are a highly respectable and professional outfit. They travel to work every day from their workshops in the inner harbour, under the Sydney Harbour Bridge to their dock just by the Opera House. These landmarks then frame what they do for the rest of the day as they give tourists an opportunity to see their fabulous city from a different perspective. Sydney Harbour is one of the most iconic and uniquely identifiable city settings in the world and it is definitely best seen from the water.
With the massive reduction in international travel, tourism everywhere has taken a majort hit. Worldwide it is predicted that around 50 million jobs are at risk in the tourism industry and even optimistic predictions suggest it will be 10 months before it is back to normal. I personally doubt it will be that quick. I believe people will be inclined to stay at home for a while as it is both lower risk and lower cost. In fact, I think it makes a lot of sense.
New Zealand itself has around 400,000 people employed in Tourism and about $40Bn of revenue in a normal year. Estimates from experts suggest 100,000 people could be out of work and revenues could drop by 25% to 50% over the year. It makes you realise how lucky we are to work for a strong company with an order book that hasn’t been instantly impacted.
When all of this dies down, I for one will be looking to make use of New Zealand and all it has to offer. And as tourism opens up it will be trans-Tasman travel which comes back first. When that happen, if you find yourself in Sydney please look out for the Oz Jet guys on the water-front and say hi from HamiltonJet. I know they would give you a warm welcome.