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They were unsurprised by the results of a national survey of the industry, which showed almost three-quarters of respondents were at least slightly concerned about their health and wellbeing.
More than a third were moderately or very concerned.
There were 271 respondents to the Tourism Industry Aotearoa survey, which was carried out before the Alert Level 4 lockdown was imposed last month.
Association chief executive Chris Roberts said the results indicated the industry was not ‘‘gently adapting to a smaller domestic-based demand level, but rather is actively struggling to survive at the business unit level’’.
‘‘With the increasing likelihood of another summer with borders closed, some operators are close to breaking point,’’ he said.
Totally Tourism director Mark Quickfall said some operators in the South Island had come through the 2020 winter well enough, but that was followed by a tough summer, a transtasman travel bubble that started, then stopped, and the outbreak of the Delta variant.
The Government’s plan announced last month for reopening borders and a risk-based model for quarantine-free travel was helpful and he welcomed a push to get nearly everyone vaccinated against Covid.
The tourism sector had been on a roller coaster and the country had to consider how it would re-establish international ties, Mr Quickfall said.
‘‘I don’t think New Zealand can afford to be closed to the world forever.’’
Hotel St Moritz Queenstown general manager Jo Finnigan said businesses were under huge pressure.
Tourism operators strived to provide a high-quality experience for customers amid worries lurking in the background, she said.
Uncertainty was one big problem and others included staffing levels and fatigue.
Mr Quickfall and Mrs Finnigan said the availability of resources to support mental health was helpful.
The survey found tourism businesses’ turnover was down 48% on where it was before the pandemic and the workforce was down 37%.
Lake Wanaka Tourism general manager Tim Barke said uncertainty about what businesses should be planning for was a big challenge.
People were growing used to expecting the unexpected.
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