Sec­tor keen to pre­vent ‘greedy’ la­bel

The Press - - Business - Amanda Cropp amanda.cropp@stuff.co.nz

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.

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