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Govt gives $25 million funding boost for conservation tourism

Around 1000 tourism businesses operating on public conservation land will received a $25 million Government cash injection.

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The funding is to help businesses following economic and travel turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The money will go towards the Department of Conservation (DOC) to help support tourism concessionaires, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.

The Government will also waive most DOC tourism-related concession fees - including management and monitoring fees - from March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

“We know tourism businesses are doing it tough with the borders closed for international visitors. In addition to the billions invested through the wage subsidy and other business support, this latest funding will help to keep these operators afloat,” Mr Davis said.

“There are approximately 1000 tourism concessionaires who operate on public conservation land who won’t have to worry about activity based, management, or monitoring fees until mid-next year,” Ms Sage added.

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The decision follows ongoing discussions on how the Government can best support tourism operators and industry leaders through the pandemic, she said.

"The funding means that the vital conservation work the fees normally contribute to won’t be affected."

Community services fees, like local councils rates, and pay for waste and water services in national parks will remain in place.

The money is part of the Government’s $400 million tourism recovery package.

The Government is also rolling out a $1.3 billion nature-based jobs package which aims to help support thousands of people, such as tourism guides, who have been affected by Covid-19.