Industry News

COVID-19 – Advice and support

Supporting the New Zealand tourism industry through COVID-19

Unite for the recovery is the Government website about COVID-19. See your own backyard is the tourism page. 

Our thoughts are with those affected by the pandemic and we are thankful for the efforts of those working to prevent and contain the spread of the virus. 

Jump to: 

Current status

Latest updates

Advice for employees

Advice for operators

Inland Revenue

Managing mental health

Advice for travellers leaving New Zealand

Advice for travellers to New Zealand


Current status

Follow the Government's guidelines for doing business at Alert Level 1 

It is important to note this is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and that this risk assessment may change as more information on COVID-19 and its epidemiology becomes available.

Latest updates 

21 December 2020

Visa changes allow onshore migrants to help fill labour shortages

The Government has announced adjustments to visa settings that will support migrant workers already in New Zealand to help fill labour shortages. 

The changes are:

  • Employer-assisted work visa holders (and their partners and dependent children) who have a job and whose visas are expiring from January to July 2021 will have their visas automatically extended by another six months.
  • The stand-down period, during which low-paid Essential Skills visa holders have to leave New Zealand, will be postponed until January 2022. The stand-down period means that Essential Skills visa holders earning less than the median wage (currently $25.50) must leave New Zealand for 12 months after having worked here for three years before they can return.
  • Immigration New Zealand will continue to use the 2019 median wage of $25.50 per hour for immigration settings until at least July 2021 at which point the median wage will rise to $27 per hour.
  • Working Holiday visas will be extended for six months, and restrictions will be relaxed on the maximum duration of work permitted, allowing Working Holiday visa holders to continue working in any industry they choose (including horticulture and wine sector roles). Working Holiday makers will no longer be transferred onto a Supplementary Seasonal Employer work visa when their working holiday visa expires. Migrants already on an SSE visa will be able to continue working for the horticulture and wine sectors, or apply for an Essential Skills visa if they find alternative qualifying work.

Immigration New Zealand will contact all eligible visa holders.


15 September 2020

The Future of New Zealand Tourism - Tourism Futures Taskforce
TIA's major submission to the Tourism Futures Taskforce outlines our vision for a world-leading sustainable tourism industry that benefits all New Zealanders. It sets out 22 potential solutions in 16 areas that are crucial to the future of tourism. The submission is supported by seven in-depth papers (see links on pg 21) setting out TIA’s views on a range of important topics.

Advice for tourism employees

Go with Tourism 
Go with Tourism is an initiative developed by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, in conjunction with TIA and the Tourism Industry NZ Trust, to build New Zealand’s tourism workforce. It has launched a new service to offer free support to tourism industry workers and businesses affected by the spread of COVID-19.

Through one-on-one interactions, an online Knowledge Hub and curated innovation sessions, Go with Tourism aims to assist with redeploying displaced tourism workers and providing guidance to businesses in need of advice.

Assistance is available via and a member of staff will be in touch within two working days to offer personalised support.

The platform will also be a one-stop-shop for those wanting to upskill themselves, with free courses available online and options to explore educational pathways.

Advice for operators

Level 1 Guidelines

Follow the Government's guidelines for doing business at Alert Level 1.  

Level 2 Guidelines 

Level 2 guidelines for accommodation providers

Level 2 guidelines for tourism activities*

*Some recreational water-based activities prohibited under Alert Level 2
Due to the recent change in COVID Alert Levels in Auckland and the rest of New Zealand, Maritime NZ and Sport New Zealand have updated their advice around recreational water-based activities under Alert Level 2. Read the update.

Transport operators at Level 2
The Ministry of Transport has published comprehensive guidance for transport operators at Alert Level 2, including information about face coverings, cleaning, and customer compliance.

Find more information about:

If a traveller is unwell, they can call Healthline on 0800 358 5453. 

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 places an obligation on employers to ensure the health and safety of workers (so far as is reasonably practicable). Employers should attempt to reach a sensible arrangement with any affected employees regarding a stand-down period from work or denial of entry into New Zealand. 

Inland Revenue

You may be able to apply for Income Relief Payment if you:

  • lost your last job or self-employment from 1 March 2020 to 30 October 2020 (inclusive) because of the impacts of COVID-19, and
  • normally worked 15 hours or more a week (for 12 weeks or more) before you lost your work because of COVID-19.

You must also be:

  • a New Zealand citizen or a resident with a residence class visa who was normally working and living in New Zealand when you lost your job, and
  • 18 years old or over, or a financially independent 16- or 17-year-old.

TIA members can email Denise Bayne for support. 

QR Codes

It is a requirement for all businesses and services:

  • to display the official government QR code for the NZ COVID Tracer App, and
  • have systems and processes in place to otherwise support contact tracing for people who do not scan in with the NZ COVID Tracer app (such as a pen-and-paper register or a digital sign-in system).

If you have not already generated an official QR code poster for each of your premises, you will need to get your posters here

Risk assessment advice

How insurance will react to the COVID-19 outbreak will differ for each individual business. If your business has been directly affected by the outbreak please contact your insurance broker for an in-depth review of your policy schedule and wording to qualify if any cover is provided.

TIA’s strategic partner Marsh has provided a report to help businesses manage pandemic and epidemic risk: Outbreaks, Epidemics, and Pandemics: Preparedness and Response Strategies

Tourism Transitions Programme

This programme delivers advice and support for either pivoting a business towards the domestic market, hibernating a firm, or other options.

The programme will complement investment in the Regional Business Partners network.

Businesses interested in finding out more about what support may be available to them, or in registering their interest for support, should visit the Tourism Advisory Support Services page on the Qualmark website.

Inland Revenue 

Inland Revenue has advised that if your business is unable to pay its taxes on time due to the impact of COVID-19, they understand, you don’t need to contact them right now. Get in touch when you can, and they’ll write-off any penalties and interest.

It would help if you continue to file however, as the information is used to make correct payments to people, and to help the Government continue to respond to what is happening in the economy.

Inland Revenue is continuing to provide essential services for business and individual customers, including payments to Working for Families customers and the administration of Child Support.

Because of the extremely difficult circumstances, they are having to prioritise the work they do and adjust the way they do it accordingly. Find out more

Managing mental health 

Public discussion of COVID-19 can be distressing and it’s normal to experience symptoms of stress. Help and professional support is available. 

If you feel you are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor.  

Online resilience support programme
The psychologists at Umbrella Wellbeing Ltd spotted our request for support for members and have responded with access to their online resilience support programme. TIA members can access this programme through MyTIA

Employee Assisted Services 
Employee Assisted Services is New Zealand’s employee assistance programme provider. EAP can provide confidential, practical assistance to employees and employers when personal or work issues arise that may impact on their ability to do their job or affect their well-being.

Government advice
See the Government's COVID-19 page for more advice on managing mental health.

Addiction support during COVID-19 (UK site)
If you’re recovering or suffering from substance abuse disorders, it’s crucial that you continue treatment despite the coronavirus outbreak. This UK-based site has some excellent advice for those who struggle with mental health and addiction.  

Advice for travellers leaving New Zealand 

New Zealanders should not attempt to travel overseas at this time.

If you do travel or are thinking about future travel, check out these resources: 

Advice for travellers to New Zealand 

Most foreign travellers can no longer enter New Zealand. 

Healthline has set up a dedicated 0800 number specifically for health-related calls about COVID-19.

  • The number is 0800 358 5453
  • Or for international SIMs +64 9 358 5453
  • People calling that line will be able to talk with a member of the National Telehealth Service and interpreters will be on hand. The number is staffed by nurses, paramedics and health advisors.

If you have flu-like symptoms please call Healthline immediately.


What should I do about cancellations?

How each business deals with cancellations is their own individual commercial decision to make. There are no easy answers - we have seen a variety of responses across the industry so far, with people balancing their current needs with a longer-term view of securing good relationships for the future when things ease up again. Refer to your terms and conditions and do what you need to do or what you can.

On 15 April the Commerce Commission released some guidance for businesses and consumers on consumers’ rights and businesses’ obligations for cancelled services and events

We have a force majeure clause in our agreements, can we use it now?

Yes, however, it depends on the wording. Lane Neave suggests seeking advice before looking to invoke one of these clauses.