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Fee waiver extended for conservation tourism businesses

Tourism businesses operating on public conservation land will have another six months of fees waived to help them adjust to the downturn in international visitors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Acting Minister of Conservation Dr Ayesha Verrall has announced.

The decision, which is part of a $200m tourism communities plan announced by the Minister of Tourism Stuart Nash yesterday, means the temporary fee waiver is extended until January 1, 2022.

“We acknowledge it has been a difficult year for tourism businesses, many of whom continue to face major challenges due to fewer international visitors,” Dr Ayesha Verrall says.

“The fee waiver extension is about providing financial relief and support to around 1000 concessionaires and permit holders as the sector adapts to the extraordinary circumstances created by COVID-19.

“It is part of a wider recovery plan, and alongside our Jobs for Nature programme it represents a substantial investment in our tourism industry and the people employed in it.

“Concession fees support DOC’s vital work protecting Aotearoa’s special places and species.

“The waiver will be reviewed again later this year to either confirm the reinstatement of fees on 1 January 2022, or provide a further waiver if extraordinary circumstances warrant it.

“For now, this decision provides certainty for operators as they plan for the year ahead,” Dr Ayesha Verrall says.

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