Sector keen to prevent ‘greedy’ label
The tourism industry is taking a more sustainable approach to future growth to avoid being seen as greedy.
In 2014 the industry set itself the target of raising visitor expenditure to $41 billion a year by 2025, and it is getting close to achieving that, with the total spend hitting $38b this year.
But at the annual Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) summit in Wellington yesterday, TIA chairman Richard Lauder said that goal did not wash any more.
‘‘I think it has a greed factor to it. We need to demonstrate to New Zealand and New Zealanders that we’re an industry that is doing the right thing for the communities we operate in, the right thing for its staff, and the right thing for the environment, and unless we can honestly say that, it’s very hard to go out there and get the endorsement we expect from our communities.’’
The summit, attended by 300 sector leaders and operators, was presented with a rejigged plan based on a sustainable tourism industry that benefits New Zealanders while continuing to grow.
TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said a lot had changed since the industry released its first plan Tourism 2025 in 2014 and some areas were suffering from the negative impacts of growth.
The focus of Tourism 2025 & Beyond would be on destination ‘‘stewardship’’ and sustainability so that tourism made life better for host communities – economically, environmentally, culturally and socially.
Roberts said the Government’s newly released draft Tourism Strategy was consistent with the revised approach.
‘‘Having an activated public sector working with the industry on the key issues facing tourism bodes well for the sustainable development of tourism in New Zealand.’’
However, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis’ absence from the gathering – due to his attendance at the Ra¯ tana centennial celebrations – was noted and he provided a brief video message instead.
During a panel discussion on the future of tourism, questions submitted from the floor raised whether the Government was giving the industry the attention it deserved.
Roberts said he had already drafted an email to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern requesting the appointment of an associate minister of tourism to share the load with Davis, something that the industry had sought before and after the election.
‘‘It would recognise how important and essential our industry is,’’ he said.
The writer attended the Tourism Summit with assistance from Tourism Industry Aotearoa.