Tourism operators call for industry to be able to resume at Alert Level 2

Tourism operators are wanting restrictions to lift around domestic travel, once New Zealand moves to Covid-19 Alert Level 2.

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Thousands of jobs are at risk the longer the industry is unable to operate. Source: 1 NEWS

They say that prolonging current restrictions for weeks if not months could cost the industry thousands of jobs, and could see hundreds of businesses go under.

Domestic tourism accounts for almost 60 per cent of the total market, making up around $24 billion a year.

Right now though, business is dead.

Operators saying that the only way to see the industry begin to re-find its feet would be to let Kiwis explore their own country again.

Under the current restrictions, non-essential inter-regional travel should be avoided at Level 2, although the Government is now saying they'll review that.

"The work that Cabinet's now going through is to assess what can and can't happen in detail under Alert Level 2 and we'll have a lot more to say about that next week," Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.

Those in the industry itself are stressing the importance of a return to normal as quickly as possible.

"That's the important thing, to get going again," Totally Tourism director Mark Quickfall told 1 NEWS.

"We've got a lot of people who typically go overseas. I think last year it was about 6.5 billion spent on overseas travel, so we'd like to think they would come and experience their own country."

Tourism minister Kelvin Davis says agencies are working alongside DOC and MBIE to reimagine what the future of tourism in New Zealand should look like.

Operators though say they need a jump start.

"Travelling safe can be done under Alert Level 2 and that will save thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses," Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts says.

"It will be enough to save tourism in New Zealand."