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New survey shows New Zealand tourism could play vital role in post-COVID economic recovery

New survey shows New Zealand tourism could play vital role in post-COVID economic recovery
October 12, 2020

A new survey conducted by Wellington-based research and strategy specialists, Angus & Associates, endorses tourism’s potential to create employment and enrich local communities.

According to more than 30% of respondents in Angus & Associates’ on-going Views on Tourism research programme, as tourism returns post-pandemic, the local tourism industry should focus on job creation.

The survey clearly showed that post-recovery, New Zealanders were not expecting 'business as usual'. They wanted more investment in community infrastructure used by visitors, a greater focus on domestic tourism development and increased emphasis on sustainable tourism development.

Angus & Associates Managing Director, Cristine Angus advised that this result underlined the critical role that tourism could play in the country's economic recovery adding "few sectors, if any, can create jobs at scale in every community across New Zealand while also supporting other sectors, for example by providing a seasonal labour force for fruit picking or harvesting. So, it seems vital that we get the tourism industry back on its feet as quickly as possible and just as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

Angus also noted it was significant that the potential for job creation was equally important to Kiwis from both North and South Island centres.

Younger Kiwis would also like to see additional focus on reducing visitor impact on their local environment, and helping visitors to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt more sustainable travel practices.

Angus highlights that this was in line with the current industry discussion on “reimagining tourism” and the new Tourism Futures Taskforce, an independent public private partnership established by the government to lead thinking on the future of tourism in New Zealand.

Consumer sentiment also supported the view that, as tourism returns, infrastructure investment will be essential to realising the economic benefits and effectively managing visitor growth.

Angus explains that until recently, community sentiment about tourism had been largely unknown,  as there had been a lack of in-depth research into how Kiwis perceived an industry that played such a huge part in New Zealand’s economy and added “it’s crucial that industry, local and central government consult with communities about what they want from tourism.

“Resetting and reimagining tourism via an industry and ministerial focus group without meaningful community research and engagement could be a path to poor policy decision making.”

Angus & Associates plan to release a series of insights around community views on tourism over the coming months. This will come as the industry and government begin work on resetting the levers that influence the performance of the sector which, until year end March 2019, was New Zealand’s biggest export industry contributing 20.4% of total exports.

Launched in 2017, Angus and Associates’ Views on Tourism research programme seeks insights from people in New Zealand, Australia and Ireland about their opinions on tourism, its benefits and its costs to them and their local communities. The survey data is building a valuable research resource for the tourism sector.

The latest data was collected between June 2020 and September 2020, and these findings are based on a sample of 770 New Zealanders aged 18 years or over. The sample is population representative as per the last census data.

The survey asked respondents what they would like their local tourism industry to most focus on in the future. Options included environmental themes such as reducing the carbon footprint of visitors, visitor impact on the local environment, safety, employment and infrastructure, increasing tourism’s value, attracting domestic vs. international visitors, promoting authentic experiences, and consultation with communities.

Image top: Wellington courtesy of New Zealand Now and image above Angus and Associates’ NZ tourism infographic

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