Support for the recovery of the New Zealand tourism industry will come from active collaboration and partnership by Ministers and the private sector, after more than NZ$400 million was pledged to the sector in the 2020 Budget.
One of the industries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the recovery of tourism will take centre stage in the coming year and beyond, according to budget documents.
Leading the government budget was an eight-week extension to the existing wage subsidy program for businesses able to prove a drop of at least 50% in revenue compared to the year prior.
The ‘Tourism Recovery Fund’ will be comprised of two parts, led by the Tourism Transition Programme, which will help guide businesses toward the best longer-term path for them, whether that be adjusting operations to suit the domestic and Trans-Tasman market specifically, to phase in a gradual shutdown or to adapt the business in other ways to ensure long-term survival.
Further, the ‘Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Program’ will work with individual businesses which play a strong role in their local communities to design a bespoke solution for their own needs. This structure is intended for companies which have already exhausted their own private funding options and require government intervention in order to survive.
Government Ministers will also actively work to rebuild the sector, with a Tourism Recovery Ministers Group to be advised by an independent board made up of both public and private sector businesses.
Tourism New Zealand will retain its full budget for ongoing promotion of the destination in key domestic markets, with allocation for promotion in Australia if a Trans-Tasman travel ‘bubble’ becomes a reality.
A NZ$1.1 billion investment in the Department of Conservation will see 11,000 regional environment jobs created, which Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) says will provide a welcome lifeline to those previously working in tourism which have now lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
“Government and industry need to work hand in hand to get through this crisis and emerge with a new, sustainable tourism economy that delivers for Aotearoa and its people – the Budget is a good start,” said TIA Chief Executive, Chris Roberts.
Roberts added that the budget package by itself will not be enough to fully restore jobs lost from the pandemic. While the measures were welcomed to ensure immediate survival, the TIA chief said further initiatives will be needed in the coming months and years ahead.