24 Jun 2020

AJ Hackett Bungy gets $10 million boost

4:37 pm on 24 June 2020

More than $10 million has been earmarked to help keep iconic tourism company AJ Hackett Bungy afloat.

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Photo: YouTube / AJ Hackett

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced the funding today through the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme as part of the $400 million Tourism Sector Recovery Package.

It consists of a $5.1 million grant in the first year with a loan up to the equal amount in the second year if needed.

The company will use the funding to retain its highly skilled workforce as it can take up to four years for specialist Jumpmasters to train.

Davis said the impacts of Covid-19 and the border closures was being felt far and wide.

"By supporting AJ Hackett Bungy, we're protecting a world-famous tourism asset as well as the flow-on benefits that an iconic tourism attraction brings to a local community," he said.

AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand co-founder and managing director Henry van Asch said the announcement couldn't come at a better time.

"Even after considerably resizing our business across New Zealand we are still facing significant losses through to whenever the tourism market rebounds. This grant enables us to keep the specialist skills we need - in particular the jump masters - to continue to offer our experiences. And allows us to be ready to scale up again when international visitors return," van Asch said.

"Our specialist Jumpmasters, who require two or four years of rigorous training to develop the skills they need to coach people to jump off a bridge, are crucial to our operation's ongoing sustainability. If we can keep them working and using their specialist skills we'll be in a much better position longer term.

"We've been contributing to the communities we're operating in and delivering our life changing experiences to people from around the globe for more than thirty years and are doing everything we can to ensure we can continue to do so."

He hoped the company wouldn't need to take up the second year loan on offer.

More than 300 applications for the programme were received by the closure date last Thursday.

The Tourism Recovery Ministers Group makes the investment decision with further announcements expected in the coming weeks.

So far, $35.9 million has been invested with up to $20.2 million earmarked for the 31 regional tourism organisations around the country.

Whale Watch Kaikōura and Discover Waitomo have been previously announced as successful applicants.