© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

Tourism in 'extended hibernation'

Lucy Bendell
Hanmer Springs v2
Hanmer Springs village from Conical Hill  Wikimedia Commons

Local authorities in Canterbury are banding together to help the tourism industry recover after Covid-19.

Tourism is on hold as many businesses have gone into "extended hibernation", Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) advocacy manager Steve Hanrahan said.

Hanrahan said TIA was working to make sure there was an environment in which tourism businesses could operate in the future.  

Smaller tourism-related towns were feeling the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown more than larger centres because they did not have large local population to support the industry. 

Domestic travel needed to start occurring soon as the tourism towns needed it to survive, Hanrahan said.

In Canterbury, local authorities are working together to help the post-Covid-19 economy.

Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown said councils aimed to collaborate as they did after the 2011 earthquakes.

The Ashburton District Council was working on a "Mid-Canterbury: Open for business" campaign to help businesses, Brown said.

The Hurunui District Council is likewise promoting local operators, with Hanmer Springs touted as the "jewel in the crown".

"Look at your countryside and what's around you before you look overseas," Mayor Marie Black said.

She said it was important to be innovative in show casing the district to "enhance and attract the domestic market".

Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton said people would be looking closer to home for ways to spend their leisure time predicted economic downturn reduced disposable income. It was important for local tourism businesses to capitalise on that.

Waimakariri District Council communications and engagement manager Alistair Gray said the recovery plan for the Canterbury districts would help the region thrive and prosper both economically and socially.  

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall said in a statement: "This is an opportunity to listen to communities and design the future of tourism in New Zealand so that it benefits our people and our home.”