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Environmental sustainability vital to industry

Media Release

Environmental sustainability vital to tourism industry’s future

24 January 2007

Environmental sustainability is vital to the future prosperity of New Zealand’s $18.6 billion tourism industry, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.

A key principle of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015 is that the tourism sector takes a leading role in protecting and enhancing the environment. This is essential to protect New Zealand tourism's greatest asset so that it can continue to be enjoyed by future generations and future visitors, TIA says.

“New Zealand’s potential visitors – particularly those from the UK and Europe – are increasingly concerned about the environmental impacts of their travel globally. We aim to understand and meet their environmental expectations,” TIA spokeswoman Sarah Berry says.

“Christchurch International Airport Ltd (CIAL) is a crucial player in New Zealand's tourism industry. Today's announcement that CIAL is the first airport company in the Southern Hemisphere to achieve carbon neutral certification through Landcare Research's carboNZeroCertTM programme will mean international visitors are able to use environmentally sustainable operators as soon as they arrive in the country. We encourage all tourism operators to take practical steps to minimise, manage and mitigate their carbon emissions.”

TIA manages the annual Tourism Industry Conference and TRENZ, New Zealand's biggest annual international tourism business event. The Conference has been carbon neutral for several years, and TRENZ 2007 was the biggest event to date to achieve carbon neutral certification through the carboNZeroCertTM programme. TRENZ 2008, to be held at Rotorua’s Energy Events Centre, 26-29 May, will also aim for carbon neutrality.

Key statistics about tourism:

* Tourism is the world's fastest growing industry

* New Zealand tourism arrivals have increased by 61% since 1999 to 2.4 million

* Forecast annual growth is 4% on average for at least the next five years

* Tourism is New Zealand's single largest export sector. International visitors contributed $8.3 billion dollars to the economy in the year ended March 2006. That is 19.2% of exports

* Domestic tourism contributes $10.3 billion to the economy each year

* Tourism directly and indirectly employs 10 percent of the work force. That is one in 10 jobs in New Zealand.

* Tourism represents 8.9% ($12.8 billion) of gross domestic product and generates $531 million in GST returns from international visitors each year. Tourism is the only export sector whose international clients pay GST.


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