Tourism Industry Aotearoa says wage subsidies must continue at during COVID-19 alert evel 2

Auckland's border closure will have major impact on domestic tourism.
Auckland's border closure will have major impact on domestic tourism. Photo credit: Getty Images

Tourism Industry Aotearoa is calling for wage subsidies to continue if Auckland's boundaries remain closed next week even if the city moves to COVID-19 alert level 2.

"For tourism businesses in Auckland and around the country, the boundary restriction will have the same impact as Auckland remaining at Alert Level 3," TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.

With New Zealand's international borders closed, 42 percent of the total visitor market is unavailable. Aucklanders provide another 20 percent of that total visitor spend across New Zealand - and are also unavailable while its borders are closed due to the recent Delta outbreak.

"So while borders are closed, including Auckland's, the available visitor market is about a third of what it was. It's tough to survive when two-thirds of the customer base is gone," Roberts says.

Auckland at level 2 with a closed boundary means tourism businesses in Auckland won't have any visitors from the rest of New Zealand, and likewise tourism businesses outside of Auckland won't have any Auckland visitors. 

Many tourism businesses were hoping for increased business during the October school holidays but the association says booking levels are generally not encouraging.

"The wage subsidy should continue. Keeping Auckland's boundaries closed will present trading conditions just as difficult for tourism businesses as level 3," Roberts says.

"Many of our operators around the country will still have at least a 40 percent reduction in revenue and be able to meet the wage subsidy criteria if it is still offered. And in Auckland, a hotel that's empty now will still be empty at level 2."

TIA says while tourism businesses are vulnerable and need Government support, there is one thing everyday New Zealanders can do to help: get the jab.

"Get vaccinated so that we can have free movement of people again and revive the visitor economy," Roberts says.