New Zealand im­presses

Travel Bulletin - - ISSUES & TRENDS -

Last month I had the plea­sure of meet­ing the New Zealand Prime Min­is­ter, The Rt Hon John Key as I at­tended a small gath­er­ing of Aus­tralian travel in­dus­try peo­ple to dis­cuss a range of im­por­tant top­ics im­pact­ing the tourism in­dus­try in New Zealand and in par­tic­u­lar, from an out­bound per­spec­tive from Aus­tralia. As I am sure read­ers would know the Prime Min­is­ter of New Zealand is also the Tourism Min­is­ter. Such is the im­por­tance of travel and tourism to New Zealand that re­spon­si­bil­ity for its suc­cess and fu­ture sits with the PM. John Key is an im­pres­sive per­son, even with the fact that he has been a politi­cian since 2002, some 14 years. As Prime Min­is­ter he won three elec­tions in 2008, 2011 and in 2014 and for the most part has kept New Zealand hum­ming along even in the face of global fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties and their own nat­u­ral dis­as­ters in­clud­ing the Christchurch earth­quake back in 2011. What was also in­cred­i­bly im­pres­sive was that as a na­tion’s leader he was in­ter­ested and en­gaged enough to sit down with just a few Aus­tralian travel in­dus­try folk and re­ally talk about the is­sues and chal­lenges that we face and how things look in the fu­ture. It was a two-way ex­change and I def­i­nitely made the point that any gov­ern­ments who think tax­ing tourists or clip­ping the ticket as tourists ar­rive and de­part by way of a pas­sen­ger move­ment charge or bor­der charge is un­wel­come to the in­dus­try at large, par­tic­u­larly when we are deal­ing with such small mar­gins. Some of the emerg­ing dis­tri­bu­tion mod­els re­ferred to as the shar­ing econ­omy were dis­cussed and it is clear that this is a global phe­nom­e­non, not a lo­cal one. I don’t think there is an easy fix for this, if at all. Time will tell what gov­ern­ments of all per­sua­sions de­cided to do about the shar­ing econ­omy. One thing is for sure, rea­son­able at­tri­bu­tion of tax­a­tion to off­shore com­pa­nies is some­thing that needs to be ad­dressed by gov­ern­ments. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how it gets ad­dressed over the years ahead both in Aus­tralian and New Zealand. So by way of quick sum­mary, the New Zealand peo­ple have def­i­nitely got them­selves one hell of a Prime Min­is­ter who is en­gaged in real is­sues and keen to fa­cil­i­tate sen­si­ble de­bate to solve prob­lems for the good of all. On a fi­nal un­re­lated note, news of the con­vic­tion of Jor­dan Dittloff is in­deed the first of what I am sure will be sev­eral more to fol­low. In the end the travel agent pleaded guilty of steal­ing $277,993 from 47 dif­fer­ent clients and will face jail for his ac­tions. This is a strong mes­sage to any per­son think­ing that they can get away with steal­ing by mas­querad­ing as a travel agent. Clearly the new de-reg­u­lated en­vi­ron­ment has the back­ing of the po­lice who have pur­sued this case and got their man.

Such is the im­por­tance of travel and tourism to NZ that re­spon­si­bil­ity for its suc­cess and fu­ture PM’ sits with the

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