Inter-regional travel should provide Southland tourism with a lifeline once it gets underway under Level 2.
Great South chief executive Graham Budd said families that would otherwise be heading overseas for holidays this year may just decide to venture south instead.
“So that’s another pool of expenditure.”
He said Southland was “reasonably well off” when it came to tourism spend, with around 60% attributed to the domestic market, compared to Queenstown whose market was 70% international.
Tourism operator Transport World – that had to lay off 12 staff last week, was very relieved with the announcement of inter-regional travel at Level 2, something that hopefully could be happening as early as next week.
Marketing and tourism manager Hannah Whyte said, having the ability to attract guests from out of town again gave them a chance to begin their long road to recovery.
“Tourism has taken a big knock, but we’re determined to be resolute and keep boxing on.
“Thanks to New Zealand’s efforts so far…we’ve been given a chance to come out on the other side.”
The Southland Chamber of Commerce has been busier than ever through lockdown, with 60% of its 430 members directly asking for help, chief executive Sheree Carey said.
Whether it was for wage subsides, commercial leases, restructuring businesses or planning at each new ‘level’, “we’ve had to put our own priorities aside to help others,” she said.
“There were a lot of people floundering at the start because it came on so quickly.”
But she said now that we were almost back at Level 2, businesses were all geared up and ready.
But surprisingly, a good 90% of Southland businesses were still able to operate in some capacity during the lockdown period, with 55% staying the same.