A $10 million investment through the Tourism Transitions Programme will support up to 3000 small and medium tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19 to get expert advice, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced yesterday.

Funding will be provided to the Regional Business Partners network which will in turn link businesses to professional advice, at no cost. Eligible businesses will get up to $5000 worth of advice and expertise to support business continuity.

“This investment means between 2000 and 3000 small and medium tourism businesses will get access to a wide range of expertise through the Regional Business Partners network,” Kelvin says.

This latest investment is part of the Tourism Transitions Programme, announced in Budget 2020, and complements the advisory services also being delivered by Qualmark under Tourism New Zealand.

Around 700 tourism business have registered for advice since the service started in May, with the majority seeking strategic planning advice, help pivoting to domestic products and services, and advice with digital capability.

“We developed the Tourism Transitions Programme because we received strong feedback from the sector that operators needed access to expert advice about the domestic market and how to adapt their business to suit the world they are now operating in,” Kelvin says.

“Many small tourism operators run a lean operation and have fewer than 20 employees. They have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and wouldn’t normally have access to marketing experts, financial advisers or other business experts.

“This programme helps businesses determine the best way forward and for some businesses, particularly the smaller ones, it has been the difference between staying open and closing.

“We’re now investing in the RBP network because they have great working relationships with local and regional businesses which means we can get support to where it is needed faster.

“The business advisory services offered by Qualmark and RBP are running in tandem. We’re expanding the programme to be able to capture a wider ranges of businesses, and to give tourism businesses greater flexibility to access advice,” Kelvin says.