The organisation that represents New Zealand’s inbound tour operators says it is ‘underwhelmed’ that Government is only looking to extend the wage subsidy for a further two weeks.
Chief executive of the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) Lynda Keene says although the council is pleased there is an extension, an additional two weeks is not going to help businesses trying to plan for the next four months through to Christmas. ‘We were hoping the wage subsidy would be extended to at least 17 October, the new election date.
‘Given the opportunity to provide support for ITO (inbound tour operator) businesses that have had zero revenue since lockdown in March 2020 and tourism operators who are desperately trying to regain losses over the past six months with domestic visitors, the two-week extension seems a little short-sighted and has not provided any certainty for businesses who may face continuous disruptions,’ Keene says.
‘Our members are also struggling with the delay in Government processes to advise STAPP (Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme) recipients about loan terms and conditions – particularly with ITOs still not knowing if they are eligible for STAPP ITO loans (or grants) since the original announcement was made on 1 August 2020.
‘Not having any detail for almost three weeks is creating immense anxiety for businesses that are trying to make decisions on the future of their operations. We urge MBIE to contact TECNZ or its members with information that can assist them with their decision-making as soon as possible.’
Tourism Export Council (TEC) NZ has released an international tourism recovery roadmap that predicts trans Tasman travel opening up in October 2020 and a number of Asia Pacific source markets / destinations following a month later.
More than 40% of New Zealand’s tourism businesses have already been put into hibernation, judging by the preliminary results of a survey by the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ).
With about 50% of the inbound tour operator members having returned their survey, 32% of inbound tour operators say they have made staff redundant and 90% say they will need to make more staff cuts if the government subsidy is not extended past 12 weeks.
The allied member survey (27% response rate) indicates that only 23% have made staff redundant to date. However, 100% say they will make more redundancies if the subsidy is not extended.
In a newsletter this week, TEC says it has been lobbying to have the wage subsidy extended from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
‘It has been encouraging to hear the Prime Minister reference the possibility that government is now looking at potential specific sector support, of which tourism was one mentioned.
‘Any specific sector initiative designed to help the tourism sector rebound as quickly as possible would be welcomed by the industry.
‘New Zealand has been successful on the health front and can also achieve a successful economic rebound as well, with a little more help.’