Tourism recovery

The government’s $400m tourism recovery package will support the industry to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The support goes beyond the government’s broad-based financial support and will help businesses identify their future, support Māori tourism, protect strategic tourism assets and secure long-term sustainability for the sector.

The $400 million Tourism recovery package includes:  


Funds committed to specific projects

Total funds committed

Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP) $290,397,514
Businesses $229,199,818  
Māori Tourism supported businesses $20,997,696  
Regional Tourism Organisations $20,200,000  
Inbound Tour Operators $20,000,000  
Tourism Transitions Programme $17,000,000
Digital Capability  $10,000,000
Regional Events Fund  $50,000,000
NZ Māori Tourism  $10,000,000
Department of Conservation waiver  $25,000,000
Tourism Futures Taskforce  $755,000

Total fund committed  $403,152,514*

*The allocation for the Tourism Recovery Fund will be under the $400m once reconciliations are made on the wage subsidy, concession fees and other government funding.

Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP)

The Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP) is intended to protect the assets in the tourism landscape that form the core of our essential tourism offerings to ensure their survival through the disruption caused by COVID-19. The programme also considered assets that are culturally and historically significant.

Applications for support through the programme closed on 18 June 2020. The funding allocations through STAPP have now been decided.

Read about the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme decisions and allocation.

Support to Inbound Tour Operators

Inbound Tour Operators (ITOs) promote and sell New Zealand travel packages to offshore buyers. In recognition of the key link that ITOs provide between overseas wholesalers and travel sellers, the Minister of Tourism has announced that the government will make up to $20 million in loans available to key ITOs, so that ITOs can be prepared to help rebuild visitation when international travel resumes.

The Tourism Recovery Ministers Group asked Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) to provide advice to inform their decisions on how the loan funding for ITOs should be distributed. TNZ has in-depth knowledge of the key ITOs active in our major visitor markets and high value market segments.

Final decisions about the allocation of the loan funding for ITOs and details of the loan terms have been made by the Tourism Recovery Ministers Group.

In total, 26 ITOs have been offered loans. The loan offers are based on a tiered system that links the value of the loans with the value of approximated revenue that ITOs generated prior to COVID-19.

ITO Revenue (pre-COVID-19) Value of loan offer
$0-$4,999,999 $250,000
$5,000,000-$9,999,999 $500,000
$10,000,000-$19,999,999 $750,000
$20,000,000+ $1,000,000

As an example, an ITO who had an estimated revenue of $15,000,000 pre-COVID-19 would have received a loan offer of $750,000. The terms and conditions of the loans are designed to be concessionary, and are as follows:

  • five year loan terms
  • interest free and no repayments for the first 24 months
  • interest rate of 3 percent per annum
  • loans to be subordinated to other debt instruments and creditors, but in front of equity investors
  • loans to be unsecured

All 26 ITOs to be offered a loan have been contacted by MBIE. Once contracts are finalised, the ITOs which have received funding, and corresponding loan amounts, will be available on MBIE’s website.  

For enquires about this fund, email

Tourism Transition Programme

The Tourism Transitions Programme was established to provide support and advice to tourism businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. It includes three key programmes of work:

  1. Support through New Zealand Māori Tourism: $2 million was allocated to New Zealand Māori Tourism due to an ongoing need for business support for Māori tourism businesses. The funding has been earmarked to deliver MBR Tāpoi - a service which is intended to support Māori tourism businesses. For further information, email

  2. Support through Qualmark: Qualmark has received $5 million to establish a free advisory service to support tourism businesses as they navigate the impacts of COVID-19. The Tourism Advisory Support Service is available to provide advice to businesses on things like how to transition their business for the domestic market, strategy development, and moving in and out of hibernation.

    Qualmark is the New Zealand tourism industry’s official quality assurance organisation, providing a trusted guide to quality travel experiences.  Qualmark uses a network of tourism business advisors to evaluate tourism businesses against key quality assurance standards in areas of finance and operations, people management, environment and culture, health safety and wellness.

    Businesses can find out about what support may be available to them, or in register their interest for support, by visiting the Tourism Advisory Support Services page(external link) on the Qualmark website.

  3. Support through Regional Business Partners network: Regional Business Partners network (RBPN) have received $10 million specifically for supporting small-medium tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19 to get expert advice.  It’s expected the investment will support between 2,000 and 3,000 businesses.  Eligible businesses will receive vouchers of up to $5,000 to access advice and expertise to support business continuity.

    Businesses with a tourism focus looking for support from the RBPN business advisory service should visit the Regional Business Partner Network(external link) information on the COVID-19 website for more information including eligibility criteria.

The business advisory services offered by Qualmark and Regional Business Partners are running in tandem. The programme is being expanded to capture a wider ranges of businesses.

Digital Capability

This $10 million fund will help tourism businesses to develop digital strategies, access digital tools and benefit from existing government digital enablement initiatives. The fund is split between two separate initiatives.

Support through Qualmark

$5 million of the digital capability funding has been made available to Qualmark, the tourism industry’s quality assurance organisation.  The Qualmark funding will help tourism operators to access specialist advice to lift their digital capability.  Areas where support will be available include digital marketing, website performance and social media content and creation. 

This programme will have a practical focus with tourism operators able to improve their knowledge and practical capability through both workshops and one-to-one programmes.  It will also build on the support that Qualmark has been providing to tourism operators through its Tourism Advisory Support Service.

Tourism operators do not need to be registered with Qualmark to access this support.

Please visit the Qualmark website for more information and to register your interest.

Qualmark website(external link)  

Support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

The remaining $5 million of funding will focus on tourism SMEs and supplement a digital enablement programme for SMEs recently launched by the Minister for Small Business.  The programme will help tourism operators to find and use the right tools to digitise their business.  Key initiatives include.

  • A Spotlight Series where small business owners who have recently transformed their business by becoming digital can share their experiences with other small business owners.
  • Delivery of digital skills training and support focused on enabling SMEs to benefit from digitising their business.
  • Working with the private sector to put together the most relevant digital tools, technologies, products and services to support small businesses with becoming digital.

MBIE is currently engaging with potential private sector providers to deliver this support, and more information will be available in the coming weeks.

See the joint announcement by the Ministers of Tourism and Small Business which covers this package.

Building business strength with digital tools(external link)  

Regional Events Fund

Events are an important part of the New Zealand domestic tourism landscape. Tourism New Zealand research indicates that up to 1/3 of domestic travel is primarily driven by people looking to participate in events.

This $50 million Regional Events Fund will aim to stimulate the domestic tourism market by supporting existing events to continue to operate, or supporting new events to form.

More information about this funding.

NZ Māori Tourism

$10 million has been allocated to New Zealand Māori Tourism from the $400m allocated for the Tourism Recovery Package in Budget 2020. According to New Zealand Māori Tourism this funding will be used to support a combination of:

  • supplementing the $2 million allocated for Tāpoi;
  • training opportunities for Māori tourism operators;
  • training opportunities for rangatahi (youth);
  • business support;
  • regional initiatives;
  • research; and
  • mentoring.

Department of Conservation Concessions waiver

This is a $25 million allocation to offset the payment of tourism concession fees to the Department of Conservation. Fees will be waived for the period 1 March 2020 until the end of June 2021 providing cash flow for tourism businesses but also maintaining investment in conservation that these fees normally contribute to. For more information see the announcement on 26 June 2020(external link).

Tourism Recovery Ministers Group

The group is overseeing the Tourism Recovery Package, and the tourism industry’s recovery. Members include Ministers of Tourism, Finance, Māori Development, Conservation, and the Under Secretary of Regional Economic Development. Key decision making sits with this group.

For more detail on the Tourism Recovery Ministers Group, see the “COVID-19 Response: Tourism Sector Recovery Plan (DEV-20-MIN-0080)” paper.

COVID-19 Response: Tourism sector recovery plan (external link)

New Zealand Tourism Futures Taskforce

This public-private taskforce will lead the thinking on the future of tourism in New Zealand. Members consist of cross-government and tourism sector representatives and will prioritise the current and future issues that will shape and impact tourism, and lead recommendations on further policy and regulatory reform in the sector.

Further information about the taskforce.

Tourism New Zealand initiatives

Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) is supporting the recovery of the sector by stimulating domestic tourism. This work involves the provision of new tools, data and insights on the domestic market to industry, the Do Something New, New Zealand marketing campaign, industry engagement, and other activity to ensure the tourism industry is well positioned for recovery.

Find out more and stay up to date with TNZ’s domestic work on the New Zealand market page of their corporate website.

New Zealand market(external link)

TNZ is also doing work to keep the New Zealand brand alive internationally to ensure New Zealand is top of mind for international travellers when borders re-open.

Find out more about TNZ’s international work on the International market page of their corporate website.

International market(external link)

Last updated: 24 September 2020