After 12 months of neglect our tourism sector needs more than a few hints and ‘maybes’ at what support might come from the Government in the future, National’s Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“Tourism Minister Stuart Nash needs to stop acting like a tourist and actually be the Tourism Minister.
“During a visit to Queenstown and Te Anau Mr Nash said there may be a travel bubble coming soon and there may be targeted support coming soon.
“But the tourism sector deserves more than just a ‘maybe’, it needs real action.
“Rather than give details around what support the sector could expect, Mr Nash instead spoke about the future of tourism. But what he still hasn’t realised is that without targeted support there will be no future tourism industry in New Zealand.
“Australia has worked out tourism is worth saving. They’ve offered extra support to their sector including half price flights to boost local tourism.
“But the contrast with New Zealand is stark. Tourism businesses, like RiverJet in Rotorua, are closing their doors. International tourists made up 85 per cent of its business but because no support or certainty had come from the Government its fulltime staff now have to find new jobs.
“Businesses aren’t closing because they want to, they’re closing because they see no other way.
“National has been calling for targeted support for months. Mr Nash should have used his Queenstown trip to announce a support package for hard hit tourism businesses until a travel bubble with Australia opens.
“The lack of any plan from the Government will mean further jobs will be lost in a sector that’s already struggling.
“Year on year tourism was New Zealand’s biggest export earner and employed 400,000 people before Covid-19 hit. It needs the Government to step up now.
“All Mr Nash has done is act like a tourist, except tourists spend money and support the local economy, he hasn’t.”
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