DOC fee means small tourism businesses will close

The Government ‘s decision to require tourism businesses to pay DOC fees will be the final straw for many tourism operators near closure and should be reversed, says National’s Associate Tourism spokesperson Joseph Mooney.

“For the past two years, concession fees have been waived for tourism businesses operating on public conservation land. The Government has confirmed that tourism operators will once again be required to pay these fees.

“'Why, when we have just taken a further hit with the Auckland lockdown, are they going to force cost back on us before we have had a chance to recover?’, wrote one Otago concessionaire.

“One thousand tourism operators around New Zealand will be charged these fees when they can least afford it.

“It makes no sense to remove this lifeline which has supported tourism livelihoods and jobs at a time when many businesses are struggling to survive.

“Tourism is on its knees. Charging businesses operating at a fraction of their normal income will push even more businesses towards closure.

“National acknowledges the importance of concession fees to conservation services, but the priority right now should be keeping businesses afloat and workers employed.

“Tourism businesses are the lifeblood of many rural New Zealand communities. They deserve a Government that has their back.”