Delegates will be able to hike Mt Tarawera – Kaitiaki during TRENZ. Image: Supplied
As more than 1,500 delegates make their way to Rotorua for TRENZ 2019, the Ticker takes a look at what attendees can expect from the four-day annual showcase of New Zealand’s $39bn industry.
Aside from a total of 30,000 meetings between 386 travel and tourism buyers from 30 markets and 380 sellers, and famils such as hiking the slopes of Mt Tarawera – Kaitiaki, this year’s schedule includes some crucial announcements for NZ’s number one export earner.
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage will be in attendance on Thursday, with expectations high that the duo’s address under the title ‘Government’s work in the tourism space’ will include an announcement on the hitherto draft Aotearoa – New Zealand Government Tourism Strategy.
No more details were forthcoming from the minister’s office, but the plan to “enrich New Zealand through sustainable tourism growth” promises to include funding models that cater for growth and set out a stronger leadership role for the government in the sector.
Measures to improve regional destination plans, target value over volume, productivity, consider climate change impacts, tackle freedom camping issues and support Māori tourism are also likely to be included in the final document following the release of the draft in November last year.
The ministers are also likely to touch on the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy, which is set to raise around $80m in its first year to be split evenly between conservation and tourism.
Perhaps we will get more detail of the stakeholder advisory group which is set to be in place by July in order to help guide investment decisions for the revenue that will be raised from the $35 levy on some international visitors which is being introduced on 1 October 2019.
Thursday morning’s agenda also includes what could be a showstopper from the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.
Each year at TRENZ the ministry releases its International Tourism Forecast, this year for the period 2019 – 2025, which include total visitor numbers and spend as well as figures by key market.
Last year, with NZ’s tourism boom in full thrust, forecasts for 2018 – 2024 put total international visitor arrivals to New Zealand on track to reach 5.1m in 2024, up from 3.7m last year.
This represented a growth rate of 4.6% per year and was estimated to push visitor spend to reach nearly $15bn by 2024 – up almost 40%.
However, speaking in Queenstown in February, Tourism New Zealand’s then chair, Dame Kerry Prendergast, revealed that the agency had scaled back its visitor arrivals growth expectations for this year to 2.5% – almost half of MBIE’s 4.6%.
The bearish forecast, Prendergast said, came on the back of what the agency is seeing domestically, plus increasing global economic headwinds, which are expected to drag the tourism sector internationally.
So, just what is in store from MBIE’s manager Business & Economic Development, Antony Kennedy, on Thursday? Is a growth downgrade on the cards? Stay tuned to the Ticker to find out.
TRENZ 2019 will also see the launch of Tourism 2025 & Beyond by Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s chief executive, Chris Roberts.
Taking the stage first up on Tuesday, Roberts will be sharing how the tourism industry growth framework – conceived at a time when attracting more visitors to NZ was top of the agenda – has been reset to focus on “growing a sustainable tourism industry that benefits Aotearoa and New Zealanders beyond 2025”.
He is to be followed by Tourism New Zealand chief executive, Stephen England-Hall, who is speaking under the title ‘Insights for Industry’. Expect to hear about how to grow your business by finding out about what makes visitors tick and get insight into global travel trends.
An update on the evolution of the 100% Pure NZ brand is expected as well as the launch of a new campaign Good Morning New Zealand, which is expected to leverage the “world’s first sunrise” on the East Coast and the First Encounters 250 commemorations in October.
A plethora of other well-known names and faces will be making an appearance at TRENZ including leaders from Auckland Airport, Air New Zealand, various Regional Tourism Organisations and of course operators, at the event that kicks-off with the launch at Te Puia tonight.
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