New Zealand Tourism Minister, Kelvin Davis, says the country’s National Treasury has been directed to create a more comprehensive stimulus package for larger tourism businesses and major employers.
Speaking in parliament this week, Minister Davis said any package, once conceptualised, would likely be rolled out on a case-by-case basis. Tourism Industry Aotearoa has provided the government with detailed information on 65 large tourism businesses which say they desperately need assistance in order to retain staff and avoid closing shop.
Of these, TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts said 22 are preparing to close with a further 21 planning partial closures.
“These include some of our most iconic, well-respected and award-winning operators.
“Every one of these 65 businesses is desperate for a conversation with government. TIA is pleading for the Government to act with extreme urgency to try and save these New Zealanders’ livelihoods.”
The announcement of a larger stimulus aimed at larger businesses with multimillion-dollar payrolls comes following the government’s introduction earlier this week of a financial assistance package of up to NZ$150,000 per business or up to NZ$585 per employee per week for a 12-week period.
“There seems little prospect that the tourism economy will have any level of recovery in the next six months, and it will likely take several years to get back to previous levels,” Roberts added.
“But if we are to recover, we need our businesses to be able to retain the skills and experience of their employees, so they are ready to respond when the COVID-19 crisis is over.”