Strong support for New Zealand’s focus on sustainable tourism growth
The New Zealand Government’s announcement of a new Tourism Strategy focused on sustainable growth has been welcomed by industry stakeholders including the Tourism Export Council (TECNZ) and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), the Auckland Council agency responsible for managing the region as a destination.
Speaking at the TRENZ industry conference in Rotorua yesterday, ATEED Chief Executive Nick Hill explained that there is strong alignment between Auckland’s own strategy - Destination AKL 2025 - which was released by ATEED a year ago, and key aspects of the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy.
Engaging in a panel discussion about destination management, Hill stated “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.
“As today’s discussion about destination management showed, there is growing recognition among communities, regional and central government, and the tourism industry that sustainable future growth is paramount – we are well past the point of looking to simply keep boosting visitor numbers.
“The benefits of tourism to the national economy are obviously important, but the industry needs to ensure New Zealand is better off socially and environmentally, as well economically.”
Advising that ATEED supports the New Zealand Government’s priorities outlined in the strategy released, Hill added “challenges such as pressure on sensitive environments and infrastructure need to be addressed collectively. As we said in our submission to the draft strategy, 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 is underpinned by mana whenua aspirations and Māori principles, and ATEED is pleased to see the Government’s strategy place Māori culture at the heart of New Zealand-Aotearoa’s tourism offering.
Representing tourism exporters, TECNZ has advised that the new Strategy has been released “just in the nick of time”. according to tourism exporters.
Welcoming plans to address the peaks and troughs of the sector by smoothing seasonal fluctuations and extending the high season and attracting visitors to lesser known areas, TECNZ Chief Executive Judy Chen says with tourism numbers increasing over 40% in the last five years it was time for the Government to have a relook at the industry and do some planning for the future.
Chen advised “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.
“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.
“The Provincial Growth Fund has also helped to boost tourism offerings in regions which could benefit from more tourism.”
Chen says it is also important to ease the pressure points to ensure New Zealand benefits from sustainable tourism growth which is spread across the country, adding “the ‘Mood of the Nation’ research that was released last week showed that while New Zealanders are mostly positive about the tourism industry, concern has grown in key destinations such as Queenstown.
“New Zealanders are one of our industry’s greatest assets as we are known as great hosts. As the industry grows, we must manage the flow of visitors across the country and the seasons to ensure our local population is not detrimentally affected by additional visitors.”
Images: Rotorua's hot springs (top) and Judy Chen (below).
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