Tourism Secretary Stuart Nash has sent struggling tourism companies a discouraging message that if the alert level does not change, they cannot expect further government support.

Nash told The AM Show that he has sympathy for “tourism companies that are bleeding across the country,” including Queenstown, Te Ānau and Franz Josef.

Nash said he was

John Edens / things

Nash said he was “concerned” about the troubled tourism businesses in Queenstown, where visitor numbers fall after Christmas and New Years.

“If you have a business that is wholly or largely dependent on overseas tourists and has not been able to move from an international base to a domestic base, you probably have to have some very tough conversations with your bank, your creditors, Your directors and your staff. “

Nash said businesses have to accept “the cold, harsh reality” that New Zealand is unlikely to welcome international tourists again until 2022.

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“We are working very hard on an Australian bubble. That will ease it if we can get this across the line, but I see there is another outbreak in Victoria today …

Nash said that

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Nash said the “cold hard reality” is that New Zealand will not see international tourists this year.

“The reason we have been able to protect the vast majority of New Zealand businesses and people’s safety is because we took this very strong approach to health. But that means that the borders have remained closed and there are no international tourists in this country. “

When asked if the government was considering a package for weak tourism companies, Nash said he is still discussing the issue with Treasury Secretary Grant Robertson, but “nothing is certain.

“We don’t have a bottomless pit, as you can guess.”

Nash said he and Robertson are considering what government support to tourism businesses might be like if they choose to give it and how long they could keep it going.

Te Anau is fighting even without international tourists.


Te Anau is fighting even without international tourists.

However, he suggested that it may not be worth propping up companies that will ultimately prove unsafe.

“I mean, it’s February now and we probably won’t see any international tourists in this country in 2021, and that’s probably the shortest amount of time. So if you have 11 months left, how much money, how much tax money do we use to subsidize or shore up businesses that are unlikely to be profitable for at least 11 months? “

In May 2020 the government announced a $ 400 million package Helping tourism businesses recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as a domestic tourism campaign and expansion of the wage subsidy program.

The package is designed to protect key tourist attractions and amenities, and to help businesses focus, hibernate, or consider other options in the domestic and Australian markets.

Nash said he did


Nash said he has “deep compassion” for tourism companies that are having a hard time nationwide, including areas that are heavily dependent on international visitors like the Franz Josef Glacier.

Nash said there was “a few million dollars” left Regional business partner networkoffers small and medium-sized businesses up to $ 5,000 worth of free advice.

He urged companies concerned about their immediate or longer-term future to reach out to the network for advice on areas such as finance, marketing, health and wellbeing, and succession planning.

When asked if the $ 14 billion remaining in the Covid Response and Recovery Fund could be used to support tourism businesses, Nash said the money was earmarked for a possible future outbreak.

The wage subsidy will get back on its feet when New Zealand raises the alert, but at that point the government is not talking about a wage subsidy at all, Nash said, adding, “We’re not out of the woods yet”.