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. 

Discussing Tourism webinars 
TIA is hosting a series of webinars to help support the industry through COVID-19 issues and beyond. Find out more

Jump to: 

Current status

Latest updates

Advice for operators

Managing mental health

Advice for tourism employees

Advice for travellers leaving New Zealand

Advice for travellers to New Zealand


Current status

  • New Zealand is at Alert Level 1.

Follow the Government's guidelines for doing business at different Alert Levels.

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 

16 July 2021 
From 19 July, Essential Skills Visa holders will be able to apply for a longer visa to remain in their current role.

The Government has decided to extend the maximum duration of an Essential Skills Visa for a job paid below the median wage from 12 to 24 months.

The duration of Essential Skills visas for roles paid the median wage or above will still be up to three years.

15 July 2021
Tourism support package continues rollout 
Mental wellbeing support is being rolled out to five South Island communities most affected by the absence of international tourists. 

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

COVID-19 Guidance for Transport Operators

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.

Level 3 information (Auckland only) 
Other than essential services, businesses cannot offer services that involve close physical contact. This means that most tourism activity operations are unlikely to be able to open.   

Level 3 guidelines for accommodation providers

COVID-19 Guidance for Transport Operators

Local travel
You can travel within your local area, for example going to work or school, shopping, or getting exercise. Public transport can continue to operate with strict health and safety requirements. Local travel at Alert Level 3.

Regional travel
At Alert Level 3 travel between regions is heavily restricted. Regional travel info.

Events and gatherings
Gatherings of up to 10 people can continue, but only for:

  • wedding services
  • funerals and tangihanga.

Physical distancing and public health measures legally must be maintained. Gatherings and events at Alert Level 3.

Public venues
Public venues legally must close. This includes libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds and markets.

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

Resurgence Support Payment
The Resurgence Support Payment will be available for businesses affected by the Alert Level change. The Resurgence Support Payment is a payment to help support viable and ongoing business or organisations due to a COVID-19 alert level increase to level 2 or higher. If your business or organisation is facing a reduction in income due to an alert level increase, you may be eligible. Find out more

COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment
The COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment helps businesses to pay their employees who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result. This payment is also available to self-employed people.

The payment helps businesses keep paying employees who:

A one-off payment of $350 is available for each employee. You can apply for it once for each eligible employee in any 30-day period. However, you can apply for it again if a health official or doctor tells them to get another test.

Your business should encourage employees to call Healthline or talk to their doctor if they are unwell.

Who is eligible for the COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment, and how to apply(external link)

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is still available for businesses to help pay employees who need to self-isolate for other reasons and cannot work from home.

More financial support options here

COVID-19 vaccination and employment 
COVID-19 vaccines will play a critical role in protecting the health and wellbeing of people in New Zealand. Over time, this will enable our social, economic and cultural recovery. Workplaces are a crucial part of making access to vaccines as easy as possible. Find out more

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.

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 this resource: 

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 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.

The Commerce Commission has 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.