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Businesses on ‘New Zealand’s most beautiful street’ struggle without tourism

Luka Forman
New Regent Street Night 1
New Regent St at night-time.  Luka Forman

Businesses on New Regent St have seen a drop in customers since New Zealand’s borders closed because of Covid-19.

Sandrine Sunley is the manager of Casa Publica, a restaurant on the street.

She said business had been a lot slower than usual because there weren't any tourists coming in.  

"We’re down about 40 percent from where we were in the previous year," she said.

Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Leeann Watson said minimum wage increases had made things even tougher for small businesses.

"They're still hurting because we don't have international tourists here, and their costs have gone up," she said.

Plans for a travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia are in the works, but details won't be confirmed by the government until April 6.

Rowena Watson, owner of Rowena Watson Jewellers, said that the increased foot traffic from the travel bubble would help local businesses.

"Having more people out there experiencing our city definitely will help," she said.

Rowena Watson
Rowena Watson Jewellers on New Regent St in central Christchurch. Luka Forman