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Tourism Puts The Big Questions To The Parties

10 July 2002

Tourism Industry Puts The Big Questions To The Parties

When it comes to setting records the tourism industry has a few. It has sustained record growth in visitor numbers over the last ten years and with it revenue growth not only through tourism organisations and businesses, but in related industries.

And yet it is very much the unsung hero says Tourism Industry Association head John Moriarty, and its contribution could be far greater if a few barriers to progress were removed.

“Successive governments have increased their commitment to the industry and they have been repaid with handsome dividends. However, there are now four key points that require the urgent and purposeful attention of any incoming Government if the stellar performance of the industry is to continue and contribute to New Zealand’s growth”, says Mr Moriarty.

These points include:

- That tourism is a “core competency’ for New Zealand and New Zealanders. It’s an industry we can all contribute to. Building these competencies requires urgent attention.

- The advancement of tourism requires investment not only directly into the tourism business, but also into support activities such as education and training. Investment to leverage business growth is vital.

- Tourism contributes well over $1 billion in “export’ GST and excise taxes, yet the infrastructure needed to sustain the industry is not seen as a national priority. Some of this return needs to be ploughed back into growth.

- Tourism is populated by small businesses in a very competitive and at times volatile market. Compliance costs can often stifle new initiatives. Relief is needed.

“Each of the parties has prepared their policies on tourism, but they have addressed only some of these questions. We are calling on the respective spokespeople to focus their minds on these issues and tell both New Zealand and the industry what they plan to do.

“We are planning a forum between industry commentators, party spokespeople and the media to take place in the last week of the election campaign, which should be of great interest to tourism industry participants and watchers”, says Mr Moriarty.

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