Tourism ventures thrown lifeline relieved

Otago Museum. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Otago Museum. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Southern tourism operators are delighted about the latest injection of Covid-recovery support cash from the Government.

Eight businesses in in Dunedin, Oamaru, Queenstown and Cromwell, and six businesses on the West Coast are on a list of strategic tourism businesses happy to be named, that will receive a mixture of grants of up to $500,000 and loans from the $400million strategic tourism assets protection programme (Stapp).

Otago Museum director Ian Griffin was "delighted" by the news, which would support staff at a time when the museum was losing money due to a lack of tourism.

The museum received a $500,000 grant with the option of a loan of $1.065million over two years, he said.

"It means we won’t have to take some actions that we might have had to take if we did not get the funding ... It is helping keep good jobs in Dunedin."

Tourism Waitaki general manager Margaret Munro declined to say how much Oamaru Penguin Colony received, but was relieved.

"We were heavily reliant on international visitors for income and there is still a lot of uncertainty [about] when that will happen again."

While it would not allow the business to scale up, the funding would allow it to hold on to staff who looked after the penguins and continue to run the evening viewings until international tourism returned.

Monarch Wildlife Cruises and Tours owner Neil Harraway also declined to name an amount, but said it was a lifeline for the ecotourism company.

"It is a worry lifted off our shoulders and a huge boost for Dunedin."

He called it a "survival budget" for its staff.

The 14 identified Southern and West Coast businesses are among 126 around the country to receive about $230 million, money the Government said could help protect the jobs of about 3000 people directly employed in the industry.

Stapp was announced in this year’s Budget, and with today’s announcements is fully allocated.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis also announced $50 million for a regional events fund, a $20 million inbound tour operator loan scheme, and $10 million to improve digital capability in the sector.

Previous allocations included $25 million for Department of Conservation concessions waivers, and $20 million for regional tourism organisations.

“We’re supporting the tourism industry to help weather the storm, adapt to build new ways of working and new products, and build a foundation that will mean we have a more sustainable tourism industry that benefits all New Zealanders in the future," Mr Davis said.

“Our inbound tour operators (ITO) are a key link between overseas wholesalers and travel sellers.

"We are offering the ITO sector up to $20 million in loans so they can be prepared for when international travel resumes.

“We’ve had to adapt the type of support we’re providing to make sure it was targeted, it was sustainable and had the biggest impact possible for the long-term health of the tourism sector."

Cash injection

Southern and West Coast businesses identified in the strategic tourism assets protection programme.—

Dunedin 

Royal Albatross Centre

Larnach Castle

Otago Museum

Monarch Wildlife Cruises and Tours

Natures Wonders

Central Otago

Highlands Motorsport Park

Outback New Zealand (Nomad Safaris, Info & Track, Info & Snow)

Oamaru

Oamaru Penguin Colony

West Coast

Franz Josef Glacier Guides and Glacier Hot Pools

Shantytown Heritage Park

Fox Glacier Guiding

West Coast Wildlife Centre

West Coast Treetop Walk and Cafe Waewae Pounamu

molly.houseman@odt.co.nz

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