Issuing every Kiwi with a $200 domestic travel card and a plan to reopen the borders - this is what the tourism industry wants from the New Zealand government. There is also support for Prime Minister Jacinda Adern to take over the tourism portfolio so tourism can leverage off her international reputation once overseas visitors can return.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) has crafted a 100-day plan for the Government that includes giving every New Zealander a $200 travel card to stimulate domestic tourism outside weekends and school holidays. TIA communications manager Ann-Marie Johnson has suggested the card could be linked to special deals from participating tourism and hospitality businesses and used on weekdays only.
“New Zealanders prefer to travel at weekends and during school holidays, leaving lower demand on weekdays. This makes it difficult for tourism operators to provide fulltime employment so a travel card would support jobs around the country,” explained Johnson.
TIA would also like to see a tourism innovation fund and access to new bridging finance for tourism businesses, the top priority for the industry, however, was a long-term plan for reopening borders when it was safe to do so.
Tourism Export Council (TEC) chief executive Lynda Keene added that the government’s Tourism Futures Taskforce would look at how to develop the industry through until 2050, but a more immediate plan on how to handle a return of international visitors was badly needed.
The Government’s $400m tourism rescue package has copped considerable criticism for the way 130 tourism businesses were chosen to receive cash grants of up to $500,000. Businesses have called it a lottery rather than a lifeline with several dozen aggrieved businesses who missed out considering legal action and potentially seeking a judicial review of the funding process overseen by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
TEC said that it hopes to deliver a plan to the government in the next three weeks and is consulting widely with industry groups such as the car rental, cruise, coach tour, conference, international education, and aviation sectors.