1 Sep 2021

Most tourism operators report mental health concerns

2:45 pm on 1 September 2021

Three quarters of tourism operators are concerned about their mental health and wellbeing.

Caravan car travels on the highway.

Photo: 123RF

A survey undertaken and released today by Tourism Industry Aotearoa asked members about their health, with respondents reporting stress, uncertainty, mental toll, fatigue, depression and financial concerns.

The survey was carried out prior to the current Covid outbreak and restrictions.

Industry chief executive Chris Roberts said the findings were sobering.

"It is very worrying that a third of respondents are moderately or very concerned about their own mental health.

"Tourism operators accept the need to protect New Zealanders from Covid-19 but many owners of once thriving tourism businesses are now facing severe financial hardship. They are part of an industry that was the first to be hit by the pandemic and will be the last to recover."

It was the first time the member survey asked about health and wellbeing.

"We are eagerly looking forward to the day when we can all enjoy the freedom to travel again. The most useful things we can all do right now is regularly check in on each other, and encourage everyone to get vaccinated," Roberts said.

It also found overall that tourism businesses' turnover had halved and four out of ten jobs had been lost compared to pre-Covid levels.

Five percent of respondents said their business would not be operating in six months' time, while 16 percent said they would be struggling to operate in six months.

Roberts said despite this, long term confidence within the sector was high, with 70 percent of respondents confident their businesses would be flourishing in five years' time.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa was working on getting its members more mental health support and had shared the survey results with the government.

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