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Wednesday Letter: Kelvin Davis makes the Govt’s case

16 Sep 2020  By Contributor

As part of our Election 2020 coverage, we hand over Wednesday Letter to each of the main party tourism spokespeople for their vision for New Zealand tourism. This week, tourism minister Kelvin Davis.

Kelvin Davis

Covid-19 has taken a heavy toll on our tourism sector and will likely continue to impact tourism for years to come.

It is a pivotal time for tourism in Aotearoa right now.

We are fortunate that the work undertaken between the sector and Government prior to Covid-19 has put us in a good position to move forward, particularly through the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy and TIA’s Tourism Beyond 2025 Framework.

Many destinations have already begun moving to a destination management approach that will ensure tourism contributes to the prosperity of regions across New Zealand and enriches the lives of all of us.

I understand the pressure that tourism businesses are facing in this period of uncertainty and I can assure you that the Labour Party shares your concern, and in Government we have been working to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19, particularly on employment.

Right from the early stages of the pandemic, we’ve been doing what it takes to cushion the blow, support businesses and workers, and position the economy for recovery.

We mandated Tourism New Zealand to focus on the domestic market. Their Do Something New, New Zealand campaign is funded from their $112m budget and will be TNZ’s largest ever market investment with rolling campaigns over 12 months.

On top of broad-based support like the Wage Subsidy, the Government also agreed to a $400m Tourism Recovery Package, designed to help protect key parts of the tourism system, and to advance our vision for a sustainable, productive and inclusive tourism system.

This package consists of:

• $290.4m for the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP), which includes dedicated financial support to 130 tourism businesses, 31 Regional Tourism Organisations and 26 Inbound Tourism Operators. The funding for tourism businesses will help directly secure up to 3,000 jobs and boost business and local economies at this incredibly tough time.
• $50m for a Regional Events Fund, to stimulate the domestic visitor market. Details of how this will be allocated across regions were released last week.
• $17m for the Tourism Transitions Programme, which has already provided support and advice to over 1,300 tourism businesses that have been impacted by Covid-19.
• $10m for Digital Capability, to help tourism businesses to develop digital strategies, access digital tools and benefit from existing digital enablement initiatives. I’ll be making a further announcement about this programme later this week.
• $10m for NZ Māori Tourism, to support activities including training for young people and Māori tourism operators, business support and mentoring.
• $25m to the Department of Conservation, to offset the payment of tourism concession fees to DoC until June 2021.
• The independent Tourism Futures Taskforce, to lead the thinking on the future of tourism and advise government on what changes we can make to improve the tourism system.

The global pandemic has been devastating for our tourism industry, but we have no other choice than to treat this as an opportunity to rebuild our tourism sector to be better than before.

Labour is committed to continuing to support the rebuild and restart of the tourism industry in the wake of Covid-19.

We will continue to support domestic tourism while the borders are closed through the work of TNZ, and through initiatives like the Regional Events Fund.

We will continue to engage and work with the sector and we will continue to support the work of the Tourism Futures Taskforce to help rebuild our tourism sector so the future of the industry is sustainable, environmentally responsible and of high value.

We know further investment will be required once border restrictions begin to lift, but in the meantime, I’m confident our $400m package lays the foundation for tourism to recover and continue to be a key part of New Zealand’s economy.

Next week, the National Party’s Todd McClay.


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