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The West Coast has had a challenging year, with ongoing closed borders and no foreign visitors since March.
Franz Josef based Glacier Country Helicopters owner Gus Gordon says summer traffic has picked up, but he's not optimistic.
"We're worried about how long it will last for until the borders open. Towns like ours are going to shrivel up and die.
"Normally businesses gather income from November through to about March and then it quiets off. So without a great deal before Christmas, and its only just started after Boxing Day, a lot of business owners [are worried]."
Gordon said it has been a bit busier around town recently, but despite the better weather and the numbers of people arriving, "how long it lasts we will see".
"There is a small buzz in town but it's not like it normally is."
He said he has flown more people in the past few days than the past two months but the season has been quite different since Covid-19, he said.
"It's been tumbleweeds down the main street of Franz."
Gordon said a lack of work opportunities has meant many have had to move on from the town.
"A ton of people have left town for good. It's the first time you will see houses available for rent in Franz Joseph. Usually, if one goes up it's gone before you hear about it."