Coronavirus: Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis confirms 'response and recovery package' included in Budget 2020

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis.
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis. Photo credit: Parliament TV

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has confirmed to the Epidemic Response Committee that a "response and recovery package" will be included in Budget 2020. 

"I won't be making announcements today, but I can confirm that on Budget Day we’ll be announcing further assistance for the tourism sector, and this will include a tourism response and recovery package," David said.

"I've listened to the sector, we’ve worked together, and as the minister – and as a Government – I believe our response and recovery plan is balanced timely and considered."

The tourism industry has struggled to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis with restrictions on hospitality and travel, however things could get better when alert level 2 comes into effect on Thursday. 

Unemployment in the tourism sector is estimated to reach 68,000 in the worst-case scenario, according to Māor Tourism chief executive Pania Tyson-Nathan, who spoke to the committee on Tuesday. 

Tyson-Nathan was among a number of submitters who spoke to MPs about the perils of trying to stay open, and many of them requested for the wage subsidy scheme to be extended after it expires in about a month. 

Davis did not provide any specific details about the package for the tourism sector, but it will be announced on Thursday when Budget 2020 is unveiled. 

Davis thanked the tourism industry for "holding in there for us", and said he could only imagine how hard it has been for the industry to stay afloat during the alert level 3 and 4 restrictions. 

He said the COVID-19 crisis has taught him that "when we work together, I know we will come out the other end at our absolute best".