The collapse of overseas tourism and prospects of a slow recovery has spurred the Government to order a complete re-think of the visitor industry.
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said today Tourism New Zealand would lead work ''re imagining'' the way tourism operates in the post-Covid 19 world.
Spending of the border levy introduced last year and expected to raise $80 million annually will be reviewed.
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"A post-COVID tourism industry will play an important role in New Zealand's economic recovery, but it will be different to the one that we are accustomed to. There will be new challenges, new opportunities and a new way of working," Davis said.
Tourism New Zealand would lead work with MBIE and the Department of Conservation, and with industry participants, to rethink the way the country governed tourism, how it was marketed domestically and internationally, who the country marketed to, and how visitors were managed they arrived.
"We have an opportunity to rethink the entire way we approach tourism to ensure that it will make New Zealand a more sustainable place, enrich the lives of all our people and deliver a sector which is financially self-sustaining in the longer term,'' said Davis.
"Given international travel is likely to be heavily restricted for some time, and features of our tourism industry such as cruise ships are currently banned, this will need to be a phased approach, looking at how we can focus on and promote domestic tourism in the short term and how we can target an international offering.''
He expected to see some results of the work within the next fortnight.
Tourism NZ chief executive Stephen England-Hall said this is an opportunity to listen to communities and design the future of tourism in New Zealand so that it benefits the country.
"We'll be working with key partners to ask questions, listen, and create something we can all be proud of, something that genuinely gives back more than it takes to Aotearoa and plays a key role in our economic success," Stephen England-Hall said.
As part of planning for a restart, Kelvin Davis said that he and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage have agreed to review the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) investment plan.
Visitors from many countries (excluding Australia and the Pacific Islands) were charged $35 for the fund that was largely to support conservation projects, especially in National Parks that had been under pressure from overseas tourists. Close to four million visitors came to New Zealand last year and the industry had vied with dairy as being the country's biggest foreign exchange earner.
"This plan was prepared at a different time, for a different future. We are now looking at what aspects of the plan remain fit for purpose, and how the IVL can be best used to help rebuild the tourism industry as part of a restart package," Davis said.