New Zealand will help keep tourism businesses afloat during the Coronavirus pandemic.
New Zealand will help keep tourism businesses afloat during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Immediate relief in the form of wage subsidies will be enjoyed by struggling tourism operators across New Zealand in the wake of an industry-wide stimulus issued by the central government this week.

The stimulus, which is expected to draw hundreds of applications from across the sector, will be available for tourism businesses which can show a minimum revenue decline of 30% for any month between January and June 2020 compared to the year before, inclusive of projected revenue. The government will provide up to NZ$150,000 per business or up to $585 per employee per week for a 12-week period.

Further assistance has not been ruled out, with the government to hold talks with banks about securing access to capital for businesses, including the possibility of interest-free loans.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa has welcomed the assistance, with CEO Chris Roberts saying the capital injection will help businesses stave off the possibility of having to make all staff redundant and close doors within a matter of days. However, Roberts said the big sticking points in the package were the lack of bespoke options for larger businesses and the absence of mental health services.

“We are pleased the Government has responded to our call for the funding to be accessible, available to businesses in every region and with no delays. The Government has indicated that payments may be possible within five days and we commend that speed of response.

“The tourism industry will not recover within this 12 week period but this Government support does buy our smaller operators some breathing space while they adjust to this unprecedented situation.

“We are pleased that Finance Minister Grant Robertson has indicated this is not a one-off package. TIA will continue to work closely with the Government and advocate for the interests of New Zealand’s thousands of tourism businesses and nearly 400,000 workers,” Roberts added.