New Zealand restricts tourism to protect environment in post-Covid world

WION Web Team
Dunedin, New Zealand Published: May 06, 2021, 03:02 PM(IST)

#8 New Zealand Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

While the tourism industry makes more than five per cent of the total GDP of the country and employs nearly 13.6 per cent (directly or indirectly) people, the country cannot risk harming its environment any further

New Zealand is known for its warm welcome and beautiful natural attractions. However, like every good thing, this too is coming to an end.

While the heart-warming smiles and warm welcome will remain, New Zealand is planning to cut down access to some of the best natural attractions for tourists to protect the environment.

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On Tuesday, the tourism minister, Stuart Nash, announced plans to "reset" the country’s tourism in a post-Covid world.

Under this plan, attractions such as Unesco world heritage site Milford Sound-Piopiotahi will now be open to limited visitors as the site "cannot return to its pre-Covid state," Nash explained.

While the tourism industry makes more than five per cent of the total GDP of the country and employs nearly 13.6 per cent people directly or indirectly, the country cannot risk harming its environment any further.

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"The reality is that we have a responsibility to take an intergenerational view of the role of tourism in New Zealand," Nash said. "It can’t go back to how it was."

Nash also explained that the high level of tourism puts immense pressure on several communities. "Unsustainable tourism levels put far too much undue pressure on communities and our natural attractions and many communities have struggled to absorb," he explained.

New Zealand government has unveiled a $200 million package which will help support the South Island towns, which have been hit due to the pandemic, and also in supporting small businesses.

"The economic impact of the loss of international visitors is felt beyond the tourism workforce and businesses," Nash said. "Whole communities, especially in five South Island regions, are facing new challenges to their way of life."

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