‘Mixed response’ to end of wage subsidy

‘Mixed response’ to end of wage subsidy

The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) says it has ‘a mixed response’ to hearing that Government will not consider an extension of the wage subsidy beyond September.

Chief executive Lynda Keene says the wage subsidy has been the most helpful support from Government during the Covid-19 crisis, which has allowed Inbound Tour Operators (ITOs) to survive with staffing levels and bare bones operations. ‘ITOs were the first affected and will be the last to get back into a revenue earning state. Although learning the wage subsidy will not be extended is disappointing, TECNZ is hopeful that applications by Inbound Tour Operators (ITOs) to the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Program fund will be successful, and if so, we’d be very grateful for that.

‘If ITOs do receive STAPP funding, the large proportion of funds are allocated to help with wages and IP/ relationships. We have a few fingers crossed,’ adds Keene. ‘ITOs need a chance to get to the starting line to kick things back into gear and drive the rebound of international tourism towards a preCovid $17.2b tourism export earning sector. ITOs bring in 55% ($9.4bn) of all international visitors (1.8m of 3.6m YE Mar 2020). ITOs have mandatory contact tracing as they know every hour of every day where their clients are. They use quality suppliers that have a strong health/safety and quality and sustainable focus which matches Government’s intentions for the tourism sector.’

In the past couple of days the travel and tourism sector have received a ‘good news, bad news’ type message from the Prime Minister – with confirmation the wage subsidy scheme will end before the election, but also slightly more positive vibes about the much sought after trans Tasman bubble and the possibility of it being rolled out state by state. (Spokespeople in the travel agency world yesterday said they were waiting to hear results from a brands’ submission to MBIE before commenting on the wage subsidy as a stand alone issue.)

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