A Rotorua chef who lost his job during the lockdown fears he will have to leave the country - and his family - if he is can't find a job to renew his work visa.
Aswinkumar Sivakumar was one of the Skyline employees who lost their jobs in a company-wide restructure, another tourism casualty of Covid-19 in the city.
Last Monday, Skyline chief executive Geoff McDonald confirmed more than half his 1200 staff in New Zealand and overseas would be laid off from the end of next month when the Government's wage subsidy ended.
McDonald said he would not provide specific details on the number of jobs lost in Rotorua as the company was still working through the process with staff.
But across the company, roughly half of the employees at the different sites had been made redundant, he said.
Sivakumar was a chef at Skyline and began as a trainee two years ago, working up to become a junior chef in that time.
Sivakumar said business began dropping off after the borders closed and there had been discussions about the restructure prior to it becoming official.
Sivakumar came to New Zealand from South India in 2016 and lives with his parents and younger sister. His father has lived in New Zealand for 15 years and works at Lucky Star Indian Takeaway.
Sivakumar's work visa was initially set to expire at the end of May and this had been extended by the Government until September.
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But he now faced the concern of not being able to renew his visa.
While he was currently looking for a new job, he said there was a "high chance" he would have to return to India as jobs were scarce.
He said while he had some family in India, they had also been affected by Covid-19.
"I don't have any hope that my relations will be able to look after me."
The Government wage subsidy which runs out in June has left Sivakumar fearful and unsure of how he will pay for the basics.
"I have no idea how I'm going to live when the wage subsidy runs out," he said.
He said he understood why the company - which had helped him grow as a chef - needed to restructure.
McDonald said the structure was unpleasant but staff had been "incredibly professional", despite the pressures they and their families were facing.
Skyline operates the Rotorua gondola and luge, mountain biking, stargazing, zip-lining, Skyswing and dining.
It also hosts the annual, internationally-recognised mountain biking festival, Crankworx Rotorua.
Skyline Enterprises operates the Queenstown gondola and luge, along with luges in Singapore, South Korea and Canada.
It also has property interests in Queenstown, Dunedin and Christchurch.
This was another major blow to Rotorua tourism, with 309 job losses at Ngāi Tahu Tourism, confirmed last Wednesday.
In a joint statement chief executive Mike Pohio and kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai confirmed Agrodome, Hukafalls Jet and Rainbow Springs would go into "hibernation".
Along with Queenstown-based Dart River Adventures and Shotover Jet, Dark Sky Project, Franz Josef Glacier Guides, Frank Josef Hot Pool, Guided Walks New Zealand, and Vantage Helicopters.
McDonald said while they hoped to one day open Skyline up to full capacity again, it was too early to say when more staff would be sought.
McDonald said the restructure had been done predicting the future market and stood by their estimates that it would be "a long and slow recovery".
He said the announcement on Thursday which stated domestic travel would be allowed was positive.
"That means we can get activity at our sites. Rotorua, in particular, is a bit more domestic-orientated than Queenstown."
McDonald said when tourism picked up, the company would expand opening hours, which would allow for more jobs in the future.
Most planned projects have been put on hold, McDonald said, which included upgrades and rebuilds on the mountain biking tracks.
"It's going to be pushed out a year or so," he said.
McDonald expected a spike in activity at Skyline Rotorua when the country moved to level 2.
"Then we'll settle back to a pattern from that peak and we'll watch and see what that does."
The potential transtasman bubble would be the key to expanding and re-hiring staff, he said.
The company still plans to continue with a $200 million redevelopment of its Queenstown gondola/restaurant complex and has applied for help from the Government's infrastructure fund.
These contracts were secured pre-Covid.
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said the loss was "absolutely tragic".
"But what can we do besides try and get them back to business as quickly as we can and encourage people to support them."
He hoped people would explore what the region had to offer, supporting the businesses so they could survive when things began to pick up again.
"There's so much good stuff on our doorstep ... it's all here, the Bay of Plenty is just rich with world-class tourism spots."
Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templar said Skyline's announcement was another example of how challenging the current environment is for the visitor economy.
"We know that would have been a hard decision for Skyline and our thoughts go out to the company and their employees."
Last week's confirmation that domestic travel will be allowed under level 2 was good news for the local visitor and retail sectors, she said.
"We are working hard as a destination to enhance our position as a favoured domestic holiday location."
An important role also lay with locals who she encouraged to explore the activities and attractions in the city as well as acting as ambassadors for it.
Skyline Enterprises layoffs
* More than 600 of the company's 1200 staff, in NZ and overseas, to be made redundant.
* About half its 400 Queenstown staff, mostly employed at its gondola, restaurant and luge complex, are to go. Staff at Rotorua's gondola and luge are also affected.
* Redundancies across its property interests, including Queenstown's Blue Peaks Lodge and Heritage Dunedin Leisure Lodge, as well as Christchurch Casino.
* International redundancies at luge operations in Singapore, South Korea and Canada.
* Redundancies to take effect after the end of the Government wage subsidy.
- Additional reporting Philip Chandler