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Kelvin Davis addressed questions from the tourist sector in a webinar this morning, after the Budget announcements yesterday.
A $400 million package was unveiled in the budget and Mr Davis explained this would be targeted at supporting businesses to hibernate or transition to the domestic market, and at protecting strategic tourism assets.
He said strategic assets were those that brought in wider economic benefits to an area, giving the example of whale watching tours in Kaikoura.
When responding to a question on what support there was for businesses who rely entirely on international visitors and would need support past September, Mr Davis said the reality was there would be no overseas tourism for some time.
"We just don't know how long until the border will be open and we cannot tie workers to jobs that may not exist in the future."
He said anybody thinking the Government was going to "pay people to exist" over the next two years was incorrect.
"This may be a message people don't want to hear, but I have to be straight up. There are some businesses that will struggle."
The webinar was hosted by Tourism Industry Aotearoa.
Chief executive Chris Roberts said they supported the budget as a first step and welcomed government recognition that additional support would be needed for the sector going forward.