Auckland, April 8, 2020
Arguably, Tourism is the worst hit sector since the world was gripped by Covid-19 and New Zealand closing its borders. Other countries have followed suit, virtually stopping all international travel.
Most airlines have grounded their aircraft fleet and have started laying off staff.
New Zealand earns more than $41 billion annually (about $112 million every day) from tourism and the industry accounts for more than 230,000 direct employment and another 164.000 people indirect jobs.
Thousands of other establishments depend on Tourism, all of which have shutdown now.
Capital injection needed
The world economy will eventually recover, some sectors immediately while others will take time.
Among those that will need careful nursing and injection of capital is Tourism.
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said that the government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan on how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world.
‘Tourism New Zealand’ will lead the charge, he said.
“A post-COVID tourism industry will play an important role in New Zealand’s economic recovery, but it will be different to the one that we are accustomed. There will be new challenges, new opportunities and a new way of working,” he said.
Mr Davis said that Tourism New Zealand with lead the recovery plan with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Department of Conservation and industry stakeholders, to reimagine the way we govern Tourism, how we market domestically and internationally, the target audience, and how we manage visitors when they arrive on our shores.
Opportunity to revisit
“We have an opportunity to rethink the entire way we approach tourism to ensure that it will make New Zealand a more sustainable place, enrich the lives of all our people and deliver a sector which is financially self-sustaining in the longer term. Given that international travel is likely to be heavily restricted for some time, and features of our tourism industry such as cruise ships are currently banned, this will need to be a phased approach, looking at how we can focus on and promote domestic tourism in the short term and how we can target an international offering,” he said.
Mr Davis said that he expected the advice over the next two weeks.
Discussion with stakeholders
Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen England-Hall regarded the current crisis as an opportunity to listen to communities and design the future of tourism in New Zealand so that it benefits New Zealand and New Zealanders.
“We will be working with key partners to ask questions, listen, and create something we can all be proud of, something that genuinely gives back more than it takes to Aotearoa and plays a key role in our economic success,” Mr England-Hall said.
As part of planning for a restart, Mr Davis said that he and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage have agreed to review the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) Investment Plan.
Mr Davis said that this plan was prepared at a different time, for a different future.
We are now looking at what aspects of the plan remain fit for purpose, and how the IVL can be best used to help rebuild the tourism industry as part of a restart package. This has been an immensely challenging situation for our tourism industry,” he said.