Published on : Monday, October 5, 2020
Over-tourism was a key topic of discussion in the past election.
Under the tremendous pressure of millions of visitors every year, Infrastructure was crying out badly, their camper vans and rental cars obstructing roads and camping in places time to time.
Communities got enraged against the possibility of more international flights, transporting more visitors to the towns which are already trying hard to keep up.
In late 2019, the international tourists peaked at just over 3.9million visitors, having more than doubled since late 2001.
Keeping those massive protests against over-tourism in mind, one should be careful what they wish for. In Queenstown, many jobs were supported by tourists, both directly and indirectly from hospitality to public transport sector.
If the number of tourists dropped, locals would take a hit, they were cautioned.
Nonetheless, nobody thought international tourism would be turned off suddenly. Tourism was the first to be majorly impacted by border close downs aimed at keeping the virus outbreak at bay.
Economic study from ASB forecasted the hit to the economy of New Zealand from the border close downs to be in the region of 3% to 5% of GDP.
Also, it’s hard to predict what the future has in store, when decisions on border reopening to some countries of the world and domestic demand are still so much in the air.
Labor seems to be relying on the strength of its Covid response to date.
Tourism spokesman Kelvin Davis said the Government had adopted the policy of “cushioning the blow” since the early stages of the outbreak.
On top of broad-based support like the wage subsidy, the Government decided to a $400million tourism recovery package.
A large piece of that was the $290.4 million strategic tourism assets protection programme. It included dedicated financial support to 130 tourism businesses, 31 regional tourism organizations and 26 inbound tourism operators.