National Party tourism spokesman Todd McClay and Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean met Lake Wanaka Tourism members and businesses to discuss the Covid›related economic crisis.

The pair pledged to keep pressure on the Government to announce a date for the international border to open.

Responding to questions from

The News about issues raised at the meeting, Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said he would give an update on the opening arrangements by March 31.

He also confirmed the July date for entry for people from visa›waiver countries was now being reviewed.

The visa›waiver countries are New Zealand’s main tourist markets, except China.

They include the US, Canada, Japan, Korea, Singapore, the UK and Germany.

Lake Wanaka Tourism chairman Mat Woods said Covid› affected tourism operators needed to know what day the borders would reopen so they could begin rebuilding their workforce now.

While it was great the Government had lifted Covid self›isolation requirements for travellers from Australia this week, there was still no actual open›border date to work towards and that was adilemma.

‘‘Do you plan for Easter, do you plan for winter, do you plan for summer?

‘‘Not having the certainty makes it really hard for businesses to plan how to scale up . . .The workforce is not here and businesses are not ready.’’

The third thing Wanaka needed was for Mr Nash to unlock a tourism recovery package and make money available so people could start planning, Mr Woods said.