$200m support package for struggling tour operators

The Government says the focus of the plan is on five "vulnerable" South Island regions including...
The Government says the focus of the plan is on five "vulnerable" South Island regions including Kaikōura, which has relied on whale watching to help attract tourists. Photo: NZ Herald
The Government has unveiled a $200 million support package for hard-hit tourism players to ensure their long-term transformation and, ultimately, their survival.

Some businesses will be eligible for a $5000 grant to help them plan for the future; they could also receive a further $5000 to help put those plans in action.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash. Photo: ODT files
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash. Photo: ODT files
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has also made available more than $25 million to help tourism players plan, promote and market activities in their regions.

And almost $50 million has been made available for a kick-start fund so businesses, which suspended operations due to the pandemic, can reopen once international visitors return.

The package also contains $20 million which will be used to diversify the Queenstown-Wanaka region's economy - an economy which Nash said this morning was "over-reliant" on international tourism.

The move is all part of the Government's Tourism Communities plan, which is made up of $127 million from this month's Budget and $73 million which has been reallocated from last year's Tourism Recovery Package.

The funding is mainly targeted at providing support for small tourism businesses, providing infrastructure, as well as maintaining and creating conservation estate.

There will also be specific funding for Māori tourism development, to be announced next month.

The money will be dished out between now and 2023, Nash told the TRENZ annual conference this morning.

"[The plan] is an opportunity for Government, councils, iwi, businesses and tourism communities to work together and re-set the industry on a more sustainable model for the future."

Nash said the focus of this plan is on five "vulnerable" South Island regions: Fiordland, South Westland, Queenstown Lakes, Mackenzie District and Kaikōura.

The funding is targeted at a number of areas:

• $49m kick-start fund for tourism businesses to restart ahead of international visitors arriving

• $26m for Regional Tourism Organisations to plan, promote and market tourism activities

• $20m to diversify the Queenstown-Wanaka region away from tourism

• $16.5m for local councils to apply for new spending

• $15m to transform Milford Sound-Piopiotahi

• $14m which will be used to convert loans from Inbound Tour Operators, allocated last year, to grants

• $10m in grants for tourism businesses to get expert planning advice

• $10m in grants to help businesses implement those plans

• $10m in waived concession fees for around 1000 tourism business operators, trading on public conservation land

• $10m for a Tourism Industry Transformation Plan to create a more sustainable tourism model

• $4.5m for psychological and social wellbeing support and training

Nash said a further announcement on funding for Māori tourism businesses, which will help them expand their businesses, will be made next month.


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