April 30, 2020
Kaikoura prepares for unwatched whales
The manager of one of the country’s most successful Maori tourism businesses says tourism will be the sector hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis and some long-term support will be needed.
Kauahi Ngaporo from Whale Watch Kaikoura says international visitors spent almost $60 million in the town last year, and a similar amount came from domestic tourism.
It could be two years or more before in-bound tourism can return, and in the meantime, his company’s revenue has dropped to zero.
While the wage subsidy has cushioned the initial shock, it’s not like the 2017 earthquake when many of the locals were able to find alternate work on the clean-up.
With more than half the jobs in the town directly or indirectly connected to tourism, many people may have to move.
"That’s a real concern because that means less people paying rates, less kids in schools, less people in the sports clubs, that's less people helping out those voluntary organisations like the fire brigade, St Johns, the flow-on effects are massive and that's a concern for small rural communities like Kaikoura," Mr Ngaporo says.
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