25 Apr 2020

Luxury tourism can be revived in near future - business owner

9:02 pm on 25 April 2020

A luxury tourism operator is confident demand for premium products will return despite suffering significant losses from Covid-19.

Tourist in Milford Sound

Photo: RNZ Insight / Belinda McCammon

A Touch of Spice has spent the past several weeks cancelling and refunding more than 90 percent of its bookings.

Its chief executive and founder Jacqui Spice said her business had to halve their staff in the wake of the pandemic.

"As a business, to watch 15 years of a very hard slog and growth, to pretty much go back to where you started has obviously been quite devastating," Spice said.

Not all tourism businesses would or could survive the widespread effects of Covid-19 and the lockdown, she said.

But she remained optimistic for the future of luxury tourism.

"We are seeing some big enquiries for later on in the year coming out of the international market. Despite what's out in the media, people are still very hopeful that they will be able to travel and I believe that New Zealand will be seen as a safe place because of how we've managed Covid-19," she said.

"Look, there's a bit of a light or a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for us. But what happens to that, of course, will just unfold over the coming weeks."

While her business would partly adjust to cater for a domestic fuelled tourism market in the coming months, she said they would make sure it retained its point of difference and brand.

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