Tourism Holdings shares jumped after its Discover Waitomo business was named as one of the first recipients of the government's $400 million tourism support fund.

The Waitomo caves operation will receive up to $4m to keep the business alive as the nation's borders remain closed through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tourism Holdings shares rose 10.6 per cent to $2.40 in early trading, taking their gain so far this week to 33 per cent.

The government's Tourism Sector Recovery Plan set aside $400m in the Budget for the industry to help cushion the blow from Covid-19 and position the sector for recovery.


Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said Discover Waitomo's application for funding had been fast tracked as there was an "urgent need" for cash.

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"Discover Waitomo is a world-renowned iconic tourism attraction that generates significant economic, cultural and employment benefits for the region," he said in a statement.

"Without this support, it may not have been possible to preserve this key asset, so it was important to act fast."

Regional support

Davis also said up to $20.2m of the fund was available for the country's 31 regional tourism organisations to support their local industries.

He said rebuilding the sector would depend on well-resourced regional organisations coordinating activities within the industry.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick and Tourism Holdings chief executive Grant Webster have also been tapped to lead a public-private taskforce to "reimagine the future of tourism."

Today's first tranche of support only makes up a fraction of the $400m fund. Those tourism organisations considered key attractions, and which attract visitors to a region, can apply for support. Applications are open until June 18.

Davis will present to the Parliament's economic development, science and innovation select committee today on Vote Tourism in this year's Budget.