Tourism needs urgent action before it’s too late

The Government needs to stop condemning tourism businesses to the scrap heap and instead urgently redirect support to the ailing sector, National’s Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“Tourism Minister Stuart Nash’s dismissal of the sector is extremely distressing for the thousands of Kiwis who have poured their life savings into their businesses and borrowed against their homes to keep afloat.”

Mr Nash said he didn’t expect international tourists to be back in New Zealand during 2021 and that any business that hadn’t been able to adjust to domestic tourism would need to talk to their bank manager or accountant.

“The latest lockdown will have exacerbated the very real concerns our sector has for its survival, it needs a Minister that will go into bat for them,” Mr McClay says.

“The Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme fund currently being investigated by the Auditor-General due to a lack of transparency hasn’t been enough with too many tourism operators left to fend for themselves.

“When questioned today about his comments, the Minister seemed unaware that domestic tourism would need to increase by 72 per cent just to replace the loss of international visitors.

“You cannot run a business based on school holidays and the occasional long weekend.

“Instead, Mr Nash should be finding solutions for the sector, including redirecting funds to get these businesses through the next 12 months.

“The Government needs to decide if it wants the tourism sector to still be there when visitors return. Telling them to talk to their accountant suggests that it does not.”