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Tourism sector wants wage support extension

Lucy Bendell
Chris Roberts TIA 2 v3
Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts.  Tourism Industry Aotearoa (Supplied)

The Covid-19 wage subsidy will not be extended and it's likely to result in significant job losses across the tourism sector.

More than 400 tourism operators responded to a Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) survey. Three-quarters of them want further wage support from the government.

The survey was conducted from July 6 to July 13. Nearly all of the respondents had accessed the first 12-week wage subsidy and 76% received the eight-week extension.

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said the biggest challenge for the industry was the "lumpy nature of domestic demand, which tends to be at weekends and holidays".

More than a third of tourism businesses said they were also facing difficulty in developing the right product at the right price for the domestic market.

Almost 40 percent of respondents, meanwhile, said they needed support for fixed business costs such as rents and leases.

Some tourism operators are already planning for a lengthy hibernation if the trans-Tasman bubble does not go through by early 2021.

Roberts said tourism operators were resilient and determined to survive the crisis but the high degree of uncertainty was difficult. Businesses wanted to understand the criteria that would enable the borders to be opened, so they could make plans to be ready when demand returned.