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Northland tourism focusing on sustainability

17 February 2004

Northland tourism businesses focusing on sustainability

Six Northland tourism businesses are focusing on sustainability in a project which is a New Zealand first.

The project is being carried out with the assistance of the Ministry for the Environment and aims to assist Northland tourism businesses to work together towards social, cultural, economic and environmental sustainability.

Six businesses have been selected to take part in the Northland Sustainable Tourism Charter project – DiveTutukaka, Wairere Boulders, Fullers Bay of Islands, Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Dolphin Discoveries and Matakohe Top 10 Holiday Park.

Sustainability is one of the five key principles under the Northland Tourism strategy. Northland Sustainable Tourism Charter Project coordinator Carol Maxwell said a draft sustainable tourism charter for Northland had been developed by the Tourism Development Group, set up following the launch of the Northland Tourism Strategy last year.

“The six businesses taking part in the project are all motivated by potential improvements that they can make in their own operations. They are leading the way in turning the charter into reality, and they will become peer business champions for other businesses.”

Their current sustainability performance is being measured, and they will then strive for improvements.

Ministry for the Environment Sustainable Industry Group manager Penny Nelson said the project was an excellent start in ensuring the concept of sustainability was embraced by the tourism industry.

“We want to focus on assisting an industry that is experiencing significant growth to improve its environmental performance.”

Ms Nelson said that as well as the benefits to the leading six businesses and Northland tourism, this project will provide an opportunity to share the learnings and experiences with other regions in New Zealand.

“In effect, this project will serve as a starting off point for future work to encourage more businesses to embrace the benefits of sustainability”.

Sustainability issues included waste management, business growth potential, balancing community involvement with business issues, water conservation, social factors such as employee well-being, and cultural factors such as partnership with Iwi.

The sustainability focus is part of the Activate Northland project, the major regional initiative (MRI) which is a partnership with NZ Trade & Enterprise and other government agencies.

Enterprise Northland hopes that the resulting case studies will be used to expand the sustainability project to include other tourism businesses and eventually other sectors of the Northland economy.

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