National will work alongside New Zealand’s tourism sector to restore the industry towards the levels of success it had prior to COVID-19, National Party Leader Judith Collins says.
While in Rotorua with Tourism spokesperson and MP for Rotorua Todd McClay, Collins announced National’s plan to rebuild New Zealand’s tourism sector.
"The men and women of New Zealand tourism have built an industry that is world-renowned through offering unique experiences and making visitors feel welcome," Collins says.
"Tourism was one of New Zealand’s biggest export earners and employed 400,000 people, and under a National Government it will be again.
"National has listened to the sector and developed a plan to work collaboratively by partnering with local government, iwi and tourism sector representatives as well as tourism businesses to speed up decision making and cut out the bureaucracy."
Collins pointed out that New Zealand is in the worst economic crisis in living memory and the Tourism Minister has been invisible.
"Labour’s attitude to tourism over recent years has been marked by a lack of leadership, misunderstanding the sector, slow decision-making, and too much bureaucracy. Inexplicable decisions have been made, including axing the valuable Accommodation Survey because government departments argued over funding it.
"We will rule out new tourism taxes, bring back and enhance the collection of tourism data, and modernise legislation including the Conservation Act 1987 and National Parks Act 1980 to be more tourism friendly."
– Use our Infrastructure Bank to work alongside local councils to build the new infrastructure needed to cope with tourism numbers across regional New Zealand
– Providing support to businesses and tourist operators through a $100 million Tourism Accelerator Fund
– Allowing travel bubbles with neighbouring Covid-free countries when it is safe to do so
– Implement a consistent and transparent national framework for freedom camping
– Support the TRENZ conference with $5 million for the next two years and enhance the collection of accommodation and tourism data
McClay explained how the tourism sector has faced the largest challenge in modern times due to COVID-19 and the closure of the New Zealand border.
"Closing the border cut off the international visitor market, worth more than $23 billion in 2019.
"Subsequent local lockdowns have further devastated the industry," McClay says.
"Rather than coming up with a comprehensive plan to save jobs across the sector, Labour has so far delivered a patchwork response.
"National has already indicated we would look at flexible travel arrangements for people entering New Zealand from countries and territories that are Covid-free, such as the Pacific Islands, but only once it was safe to do so and we had set up our dedicated border agency, Te Korowai Whakamaru/NZ Border Protection Agency.
"Tourism is an important part of our economy, National will be a true partner to our valuable tourism sector so we can protect jobs, create new ones and grow the economy.
"National will build a vibrant and sustainable sector that can proud of what it contributes to New Zealand by supporting and creating jobs."
National’s spokesperson for MƒÅ¬Åori Tourism Harete Hipango also attended the announcement in Rotorua.
"National will support and build capability for MƒÅ¬Åori tourism in response to COVID-19 through our tourism plan so that the essence of MƒÅori tourism continues to be represented to the domestic and international market," Hipango says.
"The tourism sector supported New Zealand to get through the Global Financial Crisis, a National Government will support the tourism sector to get back on its feet."