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Key tourism groups form new alliance

Key tourism groups form new alliance

An agreement signed last night by the New Zealand Hotel Council (NZHC) and the Inbound Tour Operator’s Council (ITOC) marks a new level of cooperation between two of the country’s most influential tourism groups.

NZHC Chairman, Gordon Wilson says the agreement comes at a time when the need for improved cooperation and professionalism in New Zealand’s tourism industry has never been greater.

“This sector has many disparate organisations who may represent their members’ interests, but don’t always promote the longer term goal of building a world-class, sustainable tourism industry. Inbound tour operators are key partners for major hoteliers and in signing this MOU, we are committing to a greater understanding and best practice in all our dealings with the ITOC.

“This will not only impact on our day-to-day business activities but will also, I hope, raise the standard for cooperation between other groups.”

His comments are echoed by ITOC Chairman, Stuart Neels, who says even the process of working together on a common agreement has been beneficial.

“Our members’ role is to market New Zealand as a quality, exciting, world-class destination to key markets around the world. We generally work 18 months to two years ahead of groups actually coming so it’s essential that we deliver what we promise.

“Quality hotel accommodation is a key part and we must be realistic about the pressure increasing visitor numbers and major events are placing on the sector,” says Mr Neels.

The MoU calls for increased communication and cooperation between the boards, executives and members of both organisations. It will be incorporated into each organisation’s Code of Ethics, which members sign on joining, and will include a dispute resolution process.

A working party will be established to address issues such as inventory management, internet marketing and debt recovery. Commercial arrangements between individual members of both organisations will continue, but the intent of the agreement is that over time they will work with each other “on a preferred basis in growing confidence of the professional approach that each has to marketing New Zealand as a quality tourist destination”.

Tourism Minister, Mark Burton, congratulated both groups, saying they had created a model that he hoped others would follow.

“The strength of tourism in this country is the combination of many groups and individuals. Ongoing professionalism and investment across the sector is critical to our ongoing success.”

Mr Burton says that with tourism now returning $16 billion (9.6% New Zealand’s GDP); with international visitors’ spend around $7.4 billion (18% New Zealand’s total exports) and the sector supporting an estimated 172,000 jobs (1 in every 10), its status as New Zealand’s number one export earner would continue to grow.

“A critical issue for us all is that we work together, sharing information and promoting best practice at every opportunity. I congratulate NZHC and ITOC for showing leadership in this.”

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