Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult has expressed relief for local businesses while heartily welcoming the announcement from Tourism Minister Stuart Nash yesterday.
"I would like to thank the Minister for recognising that tourism and the five South Island regions significantly hit by the absence of overseas visitors needed further assistance.
"First and foremost, the wellbeing support and kick-starter grants for businesses that have only just been keeping their heads above water are an absolute lifeline. These folks have been doing it really tough, which has taken an emotional toll, and I hope business owners and operators that are struggling will take up these opportunities," Mayor Boult says.
Specifically for the Queenstown Lakes District, a $20 million fund will provide support to diversify and reset the district’s economy.
"It’s no surprise to anyone that the district has long largely been over-reliant on a single industry – international tourism," Mayor Boult says.
"Equally, Council has long recognised the need for our district’s communities to become more economically resilient to events such as the COVID-19 pandemic or other global economic shocks. That was recognised in Vision Beyond 2050, which seeks to create an economy which is strong and diverse with sustainable and inclusive growth."
Council has been supporting a number of diversification initiatives and is working alongside Central Government to help assess which can be amplified and which new ideas will offer the most local and national benefit.
"This announcement provides a lot of opportunities that Council will be looking at, and once again I would like to congratulate the Minister and Central Government for supporting the regions in need towards a successful recovery and a prosperous future for our local communities," Mayor Boult says.