Māori tourism the hardest hit, Rotorua's Oscar Nathan says

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

Wellington welcomed hundreds of businesspeople to the Tourism Industry Aotearoa conference today as one of the country's hardest-hit industries gets ready to make a come back.

It was Stuart Nash's first event as tourism minister and he promptly upset the apple cart, saying taxpayers and ratepayers couldn't fund international tourists anymore.

Rotorua's Oscar Nathan says sustainability is going to be the biggest challenge for Māori tourism as the industry gears up for the next six months

Hundreds of tourism operators came together with one thing in mind - the future of New Zealand tourism.

The new minister of tourism said what he had to do was "meet with the industry” to explore what needed to be done to meet expectations.

The effects of Covid-19 are still being felt. Reports said the tourism industry could see a  $3 billion drop in income and Nathan say Māori tourism businesses have been hit the hardest.

The borders are still closed and there is a reliance on the domestic economy. Nathan says Māori have a point of difference in the richness of storytelling and their connection to Papatūānuku.

Given the uncertainty of the economy and the industry a task force has been set up to assess the industry

Nash says he has a huge interest in talking to all parts of the sector.

The taskforce will provide an interim report to ministers in December.