The government’s new tourism strategy has been welcomed by the sector’s major industry groups, with some saying it was long overdue.
Tourism minister Kelvin Davis and conservation minister Eugenie Sage launched the New Zealand-Aotearoa Tourism Strategy at TRENZ yesterday morning.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s chief executive, Chris Roberts, said the government’s plan closely aligned and complemented the TIA’s Tourism 2025 & Beyond – A Sustainable Growth Framework.
“Like the industry, the government wants tourism growth to be productive, sustainable and inclusive. We can only achieve that by steering the waka in the same direction,” said Roberts.
“The government has correctly identified it is both an actor in the tourism system, through providing infrastructure such as roads, broadband and public amenities; and a steward, looking across the whole tourism system to make sure it is working effectively.”
There was a need for better coordination and planning across all of government, and strengthened partnerships with iwi, local government, businesses and communities, added Roberts.
“Working together, we can ensure the many benefits of tourism are realised, while managing the impacts.”
Regional Tourism NZ’s executive officer, Charlie Ives, welcomed the new strategy and said a plan for the future of NZ’s biggest export industry was overdue.
“Tourism has grown over 40% in the last five years and we just couldn’t keep kicking the can down the road without taking a strategic look at how we can ensure New Zealand gets the best value out of this growth industry into the long-term future,” he said.
“We have been calling for a consistent approach to tourism for some time after years and years of fragmentation, so we are delighted with the launch of this strategy.”
Ives said more of New Zealand could benefit from tourism “as long as we spread the visitors out to all 30 of our regions”.
“While we are seeing pressure of numbers in some areas, every single region in New Zealand has something unique to offer,” he said.
“We need to amplify that message to visitors, so they get out and experience different parts of the country at different times of the year and spread the economic value they bring.”
Nick Hill, chief executive of the country’s largest EDA/RTO, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, said there was strong alignment between Auckland’s Destination AKL 2025strategy and key aspects of the government’s new national strategy.
“We believe all regional tourism plans need to feed into a cohesive national strategy, and it’s clear that our strategy does that in crucial areas,” said Hill.
Challenges such as pressure on the country’s sensitive environments and infrastructure needed to be addressed collectively.
“[A] coordinated national approach around future destination management in collaboration with industry is essential, and the new strategy should help to ensure that – reinforced by the accompanying priority on destination management and planning.”
Hill said Auckland’s destination strategy was underpinned by mana whenua aspirations and Māori principles, and he was pleased to see the government’s new strategy place Māori culture at the heart of the country’s tourism offering.
“We are also extremely supportive of the government’s priority about obtaining better data and insights,” he said.
“Evidence-based decision making is crucial, which is why we partnered Tourism Industry Aotearoa last year to obtain insights into the way young people viewed tourism careers.”
Tourism Export Council chief executive Judy Chen said the government’s strategy had been released “just in the nick of time”.
With tourism numbers growing by more than 40% in the past five years and the obvious pressure that brought, it was time for the government to have a relook at the industry and do some planning for the future, said Chen.
“For some time now, our members have been calling for New Zealand’s tourism policy settings to be addressed as they are no longer fit for purpose for the environment we now operate in,” she said.
Our industry has grown exponentially in the past five years, and while that is great news for the New Zealand economy, it has created some obvious pressure points.
“We are delighted that the Government has stepped up its resource of the tourism industry and already started to address pressing issues such as infrastructural requirements through the Tourism Infrastructure Fund,” said Chen.
The government’s new strategy can be downloaded here.
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