Kelvin Davis must apologise to the travel industry

The Government must step up and provide a clear plan for outbound tourism and travel operators so they can avoid large scale job loss, National’s Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“The Government needs to share its plan for New Zealanders trying to recover up to $2 billion of travel funds from overseas given the people working hard for those New Zealanders, our travel operators, will run out of support when the wage subsidy ends.

“Kelvin Davis said in Parliament it was the travel industry’s fault for being unrealistic about the support they need and that prioritising $10 million to AJ Hackett Bungy to save just 20 jobs was an appropriate response.

“The Minister claimed that the reason travel agents didn’t receive any Government support was because they didn’t apply, or they asked for too much or they were luring New Zealanders overseas.

“Kelvin Davis then refused to apologise to New Zealand’s travel agents for disregarding their very real concerns for their sector, businesses and jobs. He is effectively saying good luck to the travel industry, and tough luck to those New Zealanders with travel funds stuck offshore.

“A petition signed by 16,000 people has been presented to Parliament seeking direct support for an industry whose business has been amongst the hardest hit by the border closure.

“Travel agents and outbound tourism operators simply can’t survive without support. These businesses support thousands of jobs and are still faced with ongoing issues of needing to provide refunds and rebookings but without remuneration.

“Operators like AJ Hackett, who can open and take customers, received direct support of $10 million but local travel agents up and down the country have been left out in the cold. It’s not good enough, Kelvin Davis should apologise to them.”