“A strongly worded press release from the Bus and Coach Association (BCA) to Tourism Minister Stuart Nash should be a wake-up call to the Government,” says ACT’s Tourism spokesperson James McDowall.
“In a release that pulls no punches the BCA says “The Labour party, in particular Minister Nash, has shown a staggering lack of understanding of the complexities of business and the needs of small business owners during this pandemic. It has become abundantly clear that he lacks the credentials required to be effective. In fact, Minister Nash could quite well go down in history as the politician responsible for singlehandedly destroying a burgeoning tourism sector and a sustainable small business sector.”
“Last week Nash told tourism operators 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 and clarity. If Kiwis can return from Australia in January, is it really going to take another 12-months to open up to the rest of the world?
“We can’t afford to continue to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. A third of tour and coach operators have folded already and the industry expects that to reach 70-80 per cent by October next year.
“Nash needs to explain to New Zealanders and tourism operators if he really believes we have to wait another year to open the borders.
“We are now one of the most vaccinated countries in the world. We should allow fully vaccinated tourists from low-risk countries to enter the country to save our tourism and hospitality sectors.
“We should drop MIQ requirements for people from low-risk countries who’ve met suitable testing and private isolation requirements. The rest of the world is opening up. Flight schedules are getting back to normal. Tourism bosses warn that if the Government doesn’t get its act together, airlines may schedule us out altogether. That would add to the cost of living through higher airfares and freight costs and would lead to more jobs being lost.”