NZ sets out post-Covid tourism priorities
Wellington: New Zealand government is planning for a revamped tourism sector after the Covid-19 vaccination program and when international borders reopen, according to Tourism Minister Stuart Nash on Friday.
Addressing a conference at the University of Otago Tourism Policy School, Nash set out priorities for the country's pillar industry, Xinhua news agency reported.
The NZ$400 million tourism recovery package in 2020 was an emergency intervention.
Further, structural support will be needed in 2021 before changes will be made to prepare for a new landscape in 2022 and beyond, Nash said.
"The 2020 Package, and wider tourism support like NZ$1.8 billion in wage subsidies, NZ$300 million in interest-free loans, and government-funded vouchers for free business advice or training, have helped tourism operators adapt to domestic markets or look for alternatives.
"I have been upfront that mass-scale international tourism is unlikely before 2022, but we are working hard to open a trans-Tasman bubble in 2021. We are on-track to vaccinate the majority of Kiwis against Covid-19 by the end of this year," the Minister said.
Further support for tourism in 2021 requires a more structural approach for those who need it most, he said, adding potential next steps till borders re-open include making it easier to hibernate firms and to start up again, help to diversify regional economies over-reliant on international tourism, and deployment of tourism workers to other sectors.
"The long-term picture for tourism once borders reopen requires more fundamental change," he said.
Tourism is one of the most important sectors of New Zealand's national economy, which directly contributed about 6 per cent of the gross domestic product prior to the pandemic.