24 September 2021

Five-day summit planned to help businesses

The new Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown in Auckland have added another layer of challenges for Fiordland businesses.

The region has been one of the most affected in the country by the closure of the borders as tourism and visitor spend contributes hugely to its economy.

Fiordland Business Association committee member Christine Wallace said Fiordland lost 75% of international visitor arrivals due to border closures since March last year and about 50% of the domestic arrivals had now stopped following Auckland’s latest lockdown.

To address the issue, the Southland Chamber of Commerce will be promoting from Sunday a five-day event in Te Anau to support the economy in the region.

Chamber project and engagement manager Joanne O’Connor said the Fiordland Business Support Summit had initially been planned to happen in a single day.

However, the high demand of volunteers and attendees wanting to take part had led organisers to increase the number of days and events available.

“We just want to show as a province that we here to support Fiordland and the businesses in that region.

“They were hugely impacted — there has been no international tourism there basically since February last year, when the flood hit.

“Then it was followed by the Covid-19 outbreak and the second lockdown [this year].

“All of those things increased the pressure on businesses there.”

The event aimed to cover a range of areas including marketing strategy, immigration law and innovation.

“The Fiordland Business Support Summit was established as a number of our Invercargill-based members offered to support the region, by providing information, advice and to create opportunities to share knowledge.

“Southland chamber members are donating their time, and are covering all their own expenses to support the region, which allows us to offer all sessions free of charge.

“Local Fiordland venues are also donating their venues free of charge.

“We are truly grateful for all the support from our membership to support the Fiordland region.”

The event happens from Sunday until next Thursday, and the full schedule can be found on chamber’s website.

Published by Otago Daily Times – 24 September 2021