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Agreement will benefit tourism industry

Concessions agreement will benefit tourism industry

5 August 2008

Tourism businesses operating on public conservation lands in some of New Zealand’s most sensitive areas will benefit from a new agreement between the tourism industry and the Department of Conservation (DOC).

The agreement, signed at the Tourism Industry Conference in Christchurch today, covers areas where visitor activities need to be restricted. It outlines a new process of what will happen where DOC limits the number of concessions it grants but more applicants are seeking opportunities to operate in those areas than the number of concessions available. A concession is the authorisation to carry out commercial activities on conservation land.

Tourism Industry Association (TIA) Chief Executive Tim Cossar says TIA has treated this issue as a top priority in order to achieve fair and reasonable treatment for the many TIA members who take visitors into national parks and reserves. It has also been a top priority because New Zealand’s outdoor environment is the reason the majority of visitors travel here.

“DOC is a key participant in the tourism industry. This agreement will create a stronger partnership between DOC and the tourism industry, and will see us working closely to put the new regime in place,” Mr Cossar says.

The new agreement recognises the good performance of existing operators in sensitive areas and offers them the opportunity to apply for long-term concessions. This will give them the certainty to invest in their businesses, as well as even more incentive to protect the environment they operate in, Mr Cossar says.

“This has been a challenging issue for DOC and the tourism industry but we are confident we have achieved an outcome that will benefit both operators and the environment. It’s fair and reasonable to operators who have established a good working relationship with DOC and gives them recognition for doing a good job.”

Adventure South Managing Director Geoff Gabites,says the industry should be delighted at this outcome and DOC is to be congratulated on its new policy.

“The degree of certainty the new concession agreement provides, plus the recognition of valued partnerships, is a very important step for the industry. For Adventure South it allows planning with a longer horizon and a step towards reducing the paperwork that rolls around every five years,” Mr Gabites says.
Real Journeys Chief Executive Dave Hawkey says it is encouraging to see progress being made with this agreement as it provides better certainty for businesses that operate with a DOC concession.

“There is obviously still a lot of work to do in terms of sorting out some of the detail but a good number of points of agreement have been reached after some robust debate. At the end of the day, commercial operators working in the DOC estate want the same outcome as the department – accessible, quality operations that exceed visitors’ expectations.”

The Tourism Industry Conference is managed by TIA as agent of the Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust, with support from key industry partners.

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 $8.8 billion dollars to the economy in the year ended March 2007. That is 18.3% of exports

- Domestic tourism contributes $11.3 billion to the economy each year
- Tourism directly and indirectly employs 9.7% of the work force. That is one in 10 jobs in New Zealand.
- Tourism directly and indirectly contributes 9.2% ($14.1 billion) of gross domestic product and generates $605 million in GST returns from international visitors each year. Tourism is the only export sector whose international clients pay GST.

- Tourism directly and indirectly contributes 9.2% ($14.1 billion) of gross domestic product and generates $605 million in GST returns from international visitors each year. Tourism is the only export sector whose international clients pay GST.


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