In a Facebook live video last week, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern suggested that a four-day workweek would help boost domestic tourism and allow people to find a better work-life balance.
After a visit to Rotorua to discuss with the travel and hospitality operators there about the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses, the Prime Minster streamed live from the back of a van on the way to the airport and shared some thoughts on the matter.
About 60% of the travel and hospitality industry in the country is supported by domestic tourism, and some 9 billion dollars are spent by New Zealanders on international travel as well, according to Ardern. Nevertheless, Kiwis love to experience their own back yard, and there are many hot tourist spots around the country. The Prime Minister has plans to work with local hospitality operators to find new ways to promote and encourage domestic tourism.
Next, Ardern expressed her hope in seeing Australian tourists return to New Zealand, as historically they have been a great part of the industry. Plans to support a smooth transition at the border are currently in place to be set when both countries are in a position to reopen their borders.
“New Zealand has had a thriving tourism industry before, and we will again. It’s just the support that we give to one another we need before we return to normality,” the Prime Minister said addressing her followers on Facebook.
To support New Zealanders make the most traveling around the country, the Prime Minister is considering a four-day workweek among other measures:
“Ultimately, that really sits between employers and employees. But as I’ve said there’s just so much we’ve learned about COVID and just that flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be driven out of that. It really encouraged people or an employer in a position to think about whether or not that is something that would work for their workplace because it certainly would help tourism all around the country,” the Prime Minister said.
Ardern went on to announce a 400-million-dollar budget to support businesses forced to go into hibernation until the pandemic crisis subsides. She ended her live stream with a message of hope, announcing that things are looking well for most tourism businesses, with enough bookings in Rotorua for now. The Prime Minister also encouraged Kiwis to think about exploring their back yard.