Whale Watch Kaikōura is the latest iconic tourism business to receive COVID recovery support from the Government, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today during a visit to the region with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Up to $1.5 million has been provided to the business from the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme, which is the key feature of the $400 million Tourism Sector Recovery Plan.
“Whale Watch Kaikōura is one of New Zealand’s best-known, iconic tourism businesses, providing millions of people up-close whale encounters for more than 30 years – supporting hundreds of jobs and other sectors,” Kelvin Davis said.
“By safeguarding this key destination tourism asset, we are also providing vital support to the Kaikōura community itself.
“Whale Watch is a major drawcard for the area, with their visitors supporting the local economy through accommodation, hospitality, retail and other activities,” Kelvin Davis said.
Whale Watch Kaikōura was founded in 1987 to create employment and an economic base for local Māori and has become one of New Zealand’s iconic Māori owned tourism companies. It is one of the region’s largest locally owned employers and has won multiple tourism awards
Kelvin Davis said the Government’s $400 million recovery plan will play an important part in the rebuilding of the tourism industry.
“When forming our recovery package, we carefully considered input from the industry. There were strong calls for tailored support for key attractions, services, businesses and facilities,” Kelvin Davis said.
“While our borders remain closed as our first line of defence against COVID-19, there are strategic tourism assets across the country we can’t afford to lose.
“We will continue to work with tourism operators to protect those assets that are vital to our sector’s recovery and our economic rebuild,” Kelvin Davis said.
Applications for the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme are open now and close on Thursday 18 June.
Tourism operators should visit the Tourism Recovery page of the MBIE website for details about the eligibility criteria of the programme, and how to apply.