“New Zealand has taken a massive hit from our closed borders, with a loss of $1.5 billion in GST,” says ACT’s Tourism spokesperson James McDowall.

“While the loss of GST only tells part of the sad story of tourism and hospitality in 2021, it is $1.5 billion that can never be reinvested into the sectors or the economy at large.

“What we need this year from Tourism Minister Stuart Nash is clarity and certainty about the future of the industry.

“Tourism operators have done it tough. At the end of last year Nash told them it could be another 12-months before the borders open. Then he said there were “a whole lot of variables.”

“Tourism operators just want some certainty. Nash needs to come up with a plan. If Kiwis can return from Australia this month, is it really going to take another 12-months to open up to the rest of the world?

“Nash’s comments came as we record the lowest tourism expenditure since 2011, the COVID response and pandemic has sent tourism back a decade.

“The Tourism Satellite Account released in December show a reduction in tourism expenditure of $15.6 billion, the lowest direct value of tourism to GDP on record- a $7.7 billion reduction, the lowest number of people employed in tourism on record since 2000 and a $4.1 billion reduction from international student expenditure (for short term students).

“This year we need a plan to rebuild the sector. Tourism operators have been through hell and it’s time the Minister gave them some certainty.”

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