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Tourism Industry Conference

2 September 2005

Sorting the wood from the trees at the Tourism Industry Conference

The Department of Conservation is playing a pivotal role in the Tourism Industry’s ‘Managing Paradise’ Conference being held in Auckland, 19 -21 September. “DOC wants to improve channels of communication with tourism operators at this conference.

It’s a two way street, tourism and conservation have to work together. We’ll hear what operators are saying to us, and we want to talk to them about how they can be involved in conservation,” said Andy Thompson, Concessions and Tourism Manager, Department of Conservation (DOC).

“We’ve developed a positive and productive relationship at a national level with the Tourism Industry Association, but we want this to filter down to local operators. There are already a number of examples of tourism operators assisting conservation, and we want to continue to foster this involvement.

“We want to discuss interpretation and share international best practice demonstrating how this can help an operator provide a quality and authentic product to our visitors. This conference is a huge opportunity for us to interact with the tourism industry,” Mr Thompson said. The Tourism Industry Association (TIA) who manage the annual conference, is urging all operators who have DOC concessions to attend the DOC workshops, Director-General Hugh Logan’s presentation, and to participate in the forum.

“It’s about working together to achieve industry and conservation goals in a positive, constructive manner, and we know this is perfectly achievable,” says Fiona Luhrs, TIA Chief Executive. The global perspective of human impact on the environment Guest speaker at the conference, Keith Bellows, Editor- in- Chief of National Geographic Traveler, will be presenting a global perspective of human impact on the environment.

This includes presenting the magazine’s concept of the Destination Scorecard which looks at how destinations are coping with the 21st Century in terms of development, pollution, globalisation and mass tourism. It’s considered to be the first index of destination stewardship.

“How is New Zealand faring on the scorecard? This will be a great discussion point of the conference – how we ensure we effectively manage our natural resources with as minimal negative impact as possible, while continuing to enhance and grow the New Zealand tourism industry.

“Our unspoiled coastlines and natural ‘clean’ environment mean we’re rated pretty highly on the scorecard, but we are still behind other countries such as Norway,” says Ms Luhrs.

“I want to see New Zealand at the top of the Destination Scorecard. That is our goal.” A carbon neutral conference The conference is also ‘putting its money where its mouth is’ by making it a carbon neutral event. Attendees are invited to voluntarily contribute $7.50 towards neutralising the CO2 emissions generated by travelling to the conference, and the energy generated at the event venue.

It will be used to plant a tree at the Landcare managed EBEX 2 forest in Marlborough. In conjunction with the Tourism Industry Association, Landcare has calculated the total emission of the conference, so they know how many trees they need to neutralise it.

“We have made a commitment that this conference will be carbon neutral because it is essential that our industry plays a leading role in managing these kinds of environmental issues” said Ms Luhrs. “This is especially true if we want to remain a top destination for international travellers.”

Please see www.nztourismconference.co.nz to find out more about the conference programme. ENDS Key statistics about tourism: Tourism is the world's fastest growing industry New Zealand tourism arrivals have doubled in size since 1994 Forecast annual growth is about 5% on average for the next five years Tourism is New Zealand's single largest export sector which accounted for 18.5% of exports in the year to March 2004.

Tourism generated $17.2 billion, with $7.4 billion from international visitors and $9.8 from domestic visitors, into the economy in the year ended March 2004. Tourism directly and indirectly employs 10 percent of the work force.

That is one in 10 jobs in New Zealand. Tourism contributes 9.4% of gross domestic product. It generates nearly $500 million in GST returns from international visitors each year. Tourism is the only export sector whose international clients pay GST. Domestic visitor contribute another $800 million in GST to the economy.


ENDS


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