Locals say a good attitude and an $4 million boost into Fox Glacier hiking trails could save the town from ruin.
The only access road to the glacier has been closed indefinitely after an engineering report found it's not practical to re-establish road access, after it was damaged in February's storms.
Westland Councillor Gray Eatwell says it may put pressure on hiking trails, but a new drawcard is key.
"What we are getting will appeal probably more to some people, and we need to concentrate on the positive and make up for the natural disadvantages that have been created."
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The only way to touch the glacier now is by helicopter. Work has begun to provide alternative tracks.
"Clearly there are businesspeople in Fox Glacier that are very concerned, but however I think as long as people are broadminded and realise that Mother Nature's a bit tough, it's not the end. It depends on our innovation, really."
The new tracks are set to be completed by summer.
"We want visitors to know south Westland glacier country is open for business," Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage said on Saturday.
"We hope that the funding injection will mean people will recognise that even if they can't get all the way up to the glacier - except by helicopter - there's plenty to see and do in glacier country."