Warnings that 100,000 tourism jobs are on the line

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 8 Apr 2020, 6:00PM
Tourists at Mt Cook. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Warnings that 100,000 tourism jobs are on the line

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 8 Apr 2020, 6:00PM

New Zealand's tourism sector is not dead - but it is in a "deep slumber" and 100,000 jobs are on the line, MPs have been told.

Industry leaders from the tourism sectors were briefing MPs today on the impact Covid-19 and the lockdown is having on their industries.

They are appearing before Parliament's Epidemic Response Committee, which is chaired by National leader Simon Bridges.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts told the committee that the industry was in a "deep slumber" and had been forced to go into "hibernation".

The Government's wage subsidy scheme was welcomed by tourist operators - but up to 100,000 jobs could still disappear, he said.

MPs were today told that thousands of business have been damaged - "many of them mortally" - by the Covid-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdown.

Roberts said tourism supported more than 400,000 jobs.

"It's too big to be written off."

For the next six months; $18 billion had been expected to be spent through tourism-related spending, but he was now picking just $6b.

That was $2b less a month than had been forecasted.

Roberts estimated as many as 100,000 jobs out of 400,000 could disappear.

However, after a recovery, those jobs would come back as the sector rebuilt itself.

Hotel revenue was down 57 per cent in March, and would be down further this month, he said.

Roberts said there were 3000 workers in Queenstown who were receiving emergency assistance.

Many employers and employees had gone into "winter hibernations".

Almost all tourism businesses have taken up the wage subsidy scheme – the only ones who haven't are the ones that have chosen to close.

Many tourism operators are waiting keenly to hear about a rent rescue package, he said, without which more businesses will close.

"Many businesses don't have a pathway to survival."