By Marie Haley and Asif Hussain
Abstract: The New Zealand government closed the international borders for the first time in history to pursuit an elimination strategy to COVID-19. This has had a severe impact upon tour operators who have been excluded from a free and fair market, to protect the broader economic and public health systems. This paper argues that the government response needs a focus at the whanau and community level, with a targeted focus on women empowerment in the communities that are dependent upon international tourism. The government should pursue an approach of engagement with systems to facilitate community lead COVID-19 recovery. Thus, allowing the ability to maintain community cohesion, connection to place, economic stability and support sectors of the community that are hardest hit, such as tourism, Māori and women. Businesses should be engaged to work together, communities empowered to drive their recovery plans and individuals empowered to pursuit creative responses to entrepreneurial and retraining opportunities in situ.
Keywords: Government Response, Covid-19, Tour Operators, Regenerative Tourism, New Zealand.