The chairperson of the Niue Tourist Authority Board, Vanessa Marsh confirmed that the office of the New Zealand High Commission made the announcement of the funding assistance to the tourism sector last week.
Ms Marsh says that the focus of the funding is to support some of the challenges the tourism sector has been facing as a result of COVID 19.
She did say that this funding is what the Niue Tourism Office would have received through their normal budget support during tourism season.
“The business case developed was to provide some maintenance support to tourism services here on the island and it’s part of a larger package of financial support that New Zealand continues to provide Niue and in particular to the tourism sector”.
The fund will be utilised in certain thematic areas including soft marketing, product development and keeping the scenic sites maintained and also for the operators to maintain their properties in preparation for when things will return to normal, whenever that may be.
“We have a small component that is focused on providing some marketing support. Some people may question there is marketing support when there is really nothing to market, but we still need to keep some soft messaging out there to our key market in New Zealand, that Niue still remains a primary tourist destination and it’s a safe destination for them to travel to”.
On the talk of a travel bubble with New Zealand, Ms Marsh told BCN news that they (Tourist Authority Board) have not been involved in any discussions of a travel bubble but that they are there to make sure that the tourist operators are ready and willing to begin operations if and when the time comes for a travel bubble.
“We don’t have much of an input into negotiations are going around establishing a travel bubble or potentially opening up the borders.”
The industry is also still very cautious on opening their businesses to service the tourists if they believe that the risks of COVID 19 of entering Niue is still a real concern.
“The feedback from the operators during our focus group meetings held in September last year is that they would reserve the right to remain closed if a travel bubble was to open and they felt that Niue wasn’t in a really good place or well prepared enough to receive visitors and to minimise the risk of COVID entering the country”.
“If the borders open the operators might still stay closed to protect themselves and their families”.
The Tourist Authority this week began advertising for a new Director and CEO to head the Tourism Office, the position left vacant since the departure of the last CEO Felicity Bollen early last year. Since then, Moka Laufoli had been Acting Director.