Tourism Minister says no to visitors for next 12 months

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash needs to explain why he told the tourism sector not to expect international visitors until the summer of 2023, National’s Tourism Spokesperson Todd McClay says.

In a Zoom with Tourism Industry Association members last week, Mr Nash said that he doesn’t think visitors will come to New Zealand because of the Government’s self-isolations rules.

“Labour has announced that double-vaccinated Australian visitors won’t be welcome in New Zealand until May 2022, and they will then have to do self-isolation for seven days,” Mr McClay says.

“Mr Nash should be advocating for the tourism sector around the Cabinet table, not telling them it’s all too tough.

“Not one double-vaccinated person from Australia in the past three months has tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in NZ MIQ. Labour’s self-isolation rules will force more tourism businesses to close and cause more workers to lose their jobs unnecessarily.

“A family of four planning a week-long holiday in New Zealand are not going to spend their time self-isolating in a Rotorua or Queenstown hotel. They will choose not to travel to New Zealand in 2022 and instead will spend their money at restaurants and tourism attractions in other countries.

“The Stats NZ Tourism Satellite account confirms what New Zealanders have known for months – tourism businesses are in peril and workers are without jobs. 

“Money spent in tourism fell by $15.6 billion between March 2020 and March 2021, with 72,000 fewer workers employed in the industry through the first year of the Government’s COVID restrictions.

“Kiwi businesses are at risk of missing out on international tourists for all of 2022.

“The Government should scrap MIQ for all double-vaccinated arrivals to New Zealand right now – not from May next year. That is way too late and will mean more tourism businesses go under while they wait.

“New Zealanders understand the importance of tourism to our economy. It’s time that Stuart Nash realised it too, and stood up for the tourism sector he is supposed to be supporting.”