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Tourism Industry Aotearoa shares concerns over business closures and job losses

Tourism Industry Aotearoa shares concerns over business closures and job losses
March 19, 2020

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) have shared their concerns that medium and large tourism businesses around New Zealand will be forced to close and lay staff off if they do not receive immediate assistance from the Government.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Chris Roberts has noted that while the New Zealand Government’s Business Continuity Package released on Tuesday 17th March has given smaller businesses (around 20 employees) three months of breathing space, the $150,000 cap on the wage subsidy is of little value to larger tourism businesses with multi-million dollar payrolls.

New Zealand Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis told Parliament yesterday that Treasury had been directed to work on a package that would cover larger businesses, but this would likely roll-out on a “case-by-case basis”.

Yesterday TIA sent the Minister’s office detailed information from 65 large tourism businesses who desperately need assistance to hang onto staff and stay operating.

Roberts added “across those businesses, there is a minimum of 4890 planned job losses. 22 of the operators are preparing to close their businesses and another 21 are planning partial closures.”

The first of those layoffs are happening today and the first closures will be next week.

Roberts highlighted that “these include some of our most iconic, well-respected and award-winning operators. Every one of these 65 businesses is desperate for a conversation with government. TIA is pleading for the Government to act with extreme urgency to try and save these New Zealanders’ livelihoods.

“There seems little prospect that the tourism economy will have any level of recovery in the next six months, and it will likely take several years to get back to previous levels. But if we are to recover, we need our businesses to be able to retain the skills and experience of their employees, so they are ready to respond when the COVID-19 crisis is over.”

Image: Mount Cook National Park courtesy of Department of Conservation

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