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14 May 20: $400m targeted Tourism Recovery Fund unveiled

A $400m targeted Tourism Recovery Fund, alongside the extension of the wage subsidy scheme and a domestic tourism campaign, have been announced in the Government’s Budget 2020.

The TRF would focus on supporting tourism operators transition to the domestic and Australian markets, protecting industry assets, and funding the domestic campaign, said tourism minister Kelvin Davis.

“Initial, wide-ranging consultation identified a strong desire for a deep look at the future of tourism, but also significant short-term pressures because of Covid-19,” Davis said.

“There were strong calls for further support for staff costs, the extension to the wage subsidy scheme announced today will also help businesses cover staffing costs and protect jobs, while we ramp up a domestic tourism campaign.”

Davis said the establishment of the $400m TRF enabled the Government to deliver various support mechanisms to the industry under one umbrella.

“Tourism New Zealand has this week begun work to showcase New Zealand on social media promoting safe travel to New Zealanders. Further domestic activity will roll out soon, including a nationwide campaign,” he said.

“This package is designed to help the tourism sector at this point of our journey together. As we move through our recovery we will look at what further support we may need to provide in the days to come.”

The response package included:

Tourism Transitions Programme

The programme would deliver advice and support for either pivoting a business towards the domestic and Australian market, hibernating a firm, or other options.
Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) would provide customer insight and views of overseas market conditions to help businesses make good decisions about their futures. NZ Māori Tourism would also be supported through this fund to deliver the Transitions Programme directly to its stakeholders.

Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme

“Some of our key tourism assets, in the form of attractions and amenities, play a vital part in our domestic tourism offering and our international brand as a tourist destination,” said Davis.

“Some of these are at risk due to the effects of Covid-19 and if lost, could slow down either the national or regional recoveries, and have a major impact on some communities. This fund will identify those strategic assets and provide them with the protection and assistance they need so they will not be lost.”

Tourism Recovery Ministers Group

Davis said this would be established to oversee the Tourism Recovery Package, and the tourism industry’s recovery. Members were expected to include ministers of tourism, finance, Māori development, conservation, and the Under Secretary of Regional Economic Development.

New Zealand Futures Tourism Taskforce

This public-private taskforce would lead the thinking on the future of tourism in New Zealand.

It would consist of cross-government and tourism sector representatives and would prioritise the current and future issues that would shape and impact tourism, and lead recommendations on further policy and regulatory reform in the sector.

Budget 2020 also contained:

  • $50bn fund to deliver Covid-19 response and economic recovery plan
  • $4bn business support package, including targeted $3.2bn wage subsidy extension
  • $3bn infrastructure investment and 8,000 public house building programme
  • $1.4bn for trades and apprenticeships training package
  • $1bn environmental jobs package
  • $3.3bn new funding to strengthen core services including health and education

Finance minister Grant Robertson said the $50bn Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund would target investment at protecting existing jobs, creating new ones and providing support for workers to retrain and for businesses to survive, as well as targeting support to those sectors most affected by the virus.

The extension of the wage subsidy would be open for applications for a 12-week period and would be paid as an eight-week lump sum to employers at the same weekly rates as the current scheme.

From 10 June, businesses that have suffered, or expected to suffer, revenue loss of at least 50% for the 30-day period prior to the application date versus the nearest comparable period last year would be eligible for the extension of the scheme.