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Coastal Bay of Plenty joins billion dollar tourism ‘club’

Coastal Bay of Plenty joins billion dollar tourism ‘club’

23 February, 2018

Coastal Bay of Plenty is the latest region to hit the billion dollar mark for tourist spending – a milestone that was originally not forecast for another 12 years.
According to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment figures released yesterday, the region’s tourism expenditure grew by $53 million over the year ending January 2018, taking it to $1.002 billion. Spending by visitors has almost doubled over the last decade from $568 million in 2009.

The billion dollar breakthrough sees the region ranked as New Zealand’s seventh most popular tourist destination, behind Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown, Waikato and Northland.

“It’s an amazing achievement for the industry, and reinforces the popularity of the Coastal Bay of Plenty as a growing tourist destination. This growth brings with it many social and economic benefits for the region,” says Tourism Bay of Plenty Chief Executive Officer Kristin Dunne.

“We are extremely proud that we are attracting tourism on this scale; however, we also need to be mindful of the long-term planning required to ensure that continued growth is sustainable into the future.”

Sustainable planning sentiments were echoed by Regional Tourism New Zealand who this week called for local government to “step up” and start thinking about long-term tourism, labelling current ways of thinking about tourism as “not fit for purpose”.

RTNZ Executive Officer Charlie Ives says increased growth in tourism will place pressure on the regions, which must be managed before it has a negative effect on their communities.

“Tourism – perhaps more than any other industry – touches the whole community, and while most New Zealanders overall are still comfortable with the industry, we are already seeing early indicators of pressure such as overcrowding and negative reactions to freedom campers,” he says.

“These are warnings of the impact tourism can have on us if we don’t have a planned, developed and managed approach.”

Ms Dunne explains Tourism Bay of Plenty has identified such growth pressures, with its Visitor Economy Strategy 2018-2028 forecasting that the visitor economy will grow by more than 50% by 2028. In line with projected growth, the organisation is moving towards a Destination Management role, joining a global movement towards sustainable tourism.

“Tourism will continue to grow in the region and it would be reckless to allow this growth without a considered management plan.”

Through its Visitor Economy Strategy 2018-2028, Tourism Bay of Plenty will work closely with local and regional authorities, iwi, communities and industry to ensure tourism is grown in a sustainable way.

“Taking the right strategic approach is key to controlling tourism’s environmental impacts and preserving the region’s unique identity,” says Ms Dunne.
“With the right strategic approach, tourism has the potential to generate a much broader range of benefits that underwrite social and economic transformation, ultimately providing residents with greater social amenities and higher living standards. In short, everyone wins.”

- ENDS -

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