Lynda Keene Lynda Keene

Inbound sector hangs by a thread

The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) is urging the Government to help develop a recovery plan for the sector.

TECNZ chief executive Lynda Keene says inbound tour operators have had no income since the country’s borders were closed early last year and have been the most affected sector across the international tourism industry. ‘They are hanging by a thread. We cannot understate how serious the future of NZ’s international visitor economy is. Without financial support and targeted assistance in 2021, ITOs and visitor product and experiences will be forced to close.

‘Before Covid, our inbound tour operators contributed more than half of the $17.2 billion in export receipts earned by New Zealand’s tourism sector. Without ITOs to help lead NZ’s international tourism recovery, offshore agents may just find NZ ‘too hard’ to sell to their clients. This would be disastrous.

‘It is important a trans-Tasman tourism bubble is launched this year. Our members want to work with Tourism Minister Stuart Nash and his Cabinet colleagues to develop a recovery plan linked to the rollout of vaccines so we can make it through 2021, and be a part of NZ’s economic recovery.

‘How we manage Covid’s economic impacts also affects our reputation, so we need clear and consistent guidance from Government on that. If NZ’s tourism offering is diminished with closure of businesses, there is potential it could affect the country’s food and wine and other produce sectors that form part of the NZ Inc. export proposition.’

Keene says tour operators and tourism businesses had robust health and safety procedures in place to ensure a safe tourism experience for visitors.

TECNZ is hoping to discuss its views with ministers in the coming weeks and will release revised international arrival forecasts in the next few days.

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