8 May 2020

Tourism operators 'jumping for joy' at level 2 announcements

8:17 am on 8 May 2020

While the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown has been devastating for the tourism operators, domestic travel could alleviate some stress and allow for a reimagining of the industry.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa, chief executive, Chris Roberts

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts. Photo: SUPPLIED - TIA

Just two days ago, one of the country's largest tourist operators, Ngāi Tahu Tourism, announced it will cut 300 jobs and put most of its businesses into hibernation.

The businesses include Shotover Jet, Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools, Hollyford Track, Rotorua's Agrodome and Rainbow Springs.

But with the government's announcement that restrictions on domestic travel will lift under alert level 2, the sector has been given a shot of adrenaline.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts told Morning Report they were expecting the announcement, but still had nerves watching the press conference yesterday.

"People were literally jumping for joy yesterday, there were smiles of faces of people who had nothing to smile about since January," he said.

However, Roberts said there have already been a large number of job losses and this is the first step on what will be a long recovery.

"Being allowed to have domestic travel under level 2 means it will save jobs and some businesses can get back into business."

He said the next few months provide an amazing opportunity for Kiwis to discover their own country and see what it has to offer.

"That comes with the satisfaction of knowing you're saving jobs and helping the lives of other Kiwis."

Roberts said after the survival phase, there will need to be a reimagining of tourism in New Zealand.

"What will tourism look like in the future - it won't look like what is was just a few short months ago. We can take this opportunity to bring all the right parties together - tourism and non-tourism - and think about what we want tourism to look like.

"There are some great outcomes we can have from this incredible crisis in the industry."

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