Coronavirus: Ngāi Tahu Tourism confirms plans to cut hundreds of jobs, workforce slashed from 348 to 39

Ngāi Tahu Tourism has announced it's slashing its workforce from 348 to 39.

The iwi-business operates iconic New Zealand tourist activities such as the Shotover Jet, Franz Josef Glacier Guides, and Rainbow Springs.

In a statement, Ngāi Tahu Tourism says the final number of staff being kept on is 14 more than originally proposed.

"The remaining team will protect and maintain our valuable assets and wildlife during the hibernation period and look towards the potential for growing business once the industry improves."

Most impacted staff will finish work in June or July, the statement said.

Coronavirus: Ngāi Tahu Tourism confirms plans to cut hundreds of jobs, workforce slashed from 348 to 39
Photo credit: Google

"This has been an extremely difficult decision but unfortunately the impacts of COVID-19 are devastatingly deep and far-reaching."

Tourist destinations such as Queenstown have been grappling with the COVID-19 crisis, with closed borders making tourism non-existent.

Last month, Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said the district had become one of the most financially challenged in the country.

"We could not be any worse than we are at the present time," Boult said.

And job losses were becoming frequent throughout the country, according to Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts.

"We could see tens of thousands of jobs go in the tourism sector, even more than 100,000 jobs could potentially disappear," he told Radio New Zealand last month.

In its statement, Ngāi Tahu said, "We expect to write off the equivalent of the last five years of Ngāi Tahu Tourism profits. 

"Even if the domestic market soon picks up, it will not be enough to sustain our current operations or staffing.

"Our job now is to adapt our portfolio of tourism assets for an industry that will be undoubtedly different in light of this virus, but still filled with opportunities in the months and years ahead." 

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