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NZ’s clean, green tourism brand put under 'scope

Thursday 30 November 2006

NZ’s clean, green tourism brand put under microscope

The future of New Zealand’s clean, green tourism brand is up for debate at two upcoming international conferences being held at the University of Otago.

Next week, the University’s Department of Tourism, based in the School of Business, will host the Atlas Asia Pacific ‘Tourism after Oil’ and the Tourism and Hospitality Research ‘Beyond Nature’ conferences.

The conferences, held consecutively, will feature national and international experts in nature tourism, international trade, environmental management and destination branding who will present various views on the need for a long-term perspective on tourism in the Asia-Pacific region.

Tourism Associate Professor James Higham says New Zealand has long been promoted and, arguably, studied in terms of its natural dimensions.

“The ‘100% Pure’ campaign and an emphasis on ‘clean and green’ branding has had great benefits in attracting visitors to New Zealand, but how sustainable is the focus on nature in the long term?

“The theme of these conferences stresses the need to take a more critical perspective on current and future issues with respect to tourism and hospitality in New Zealand. The effects of increased destination competition and the rising cost of oil present major challenges for New Zealand tourism. The future of travel and tourism is uncertain.”

New Zealand was recently named one of the 10 worst countries in the world for consumer demand for natural resources by the WWF conservation group – further undermining New Zealand’s ‘clean, green’ image.

The conferences will cover issues of global warming, a subject of timely discussion given the armada of Antarctic icebergs that are currently passing the Otago coastline.

“What we are seeing with the icebergs is a product of global warming which has been turned into a tourist attraction. There has been high demand on helicopters and airplanes to take sightseers to the icebergs – vehicles which use a tremendous amount of fuel and emit greenhouse gasses – thus perpetuating the problem that created the icebergs in the first place,” says Associate Prof Higham.

The conference features a number of lectures and workshops for academics and tourism practitioners. Global climate change and tourism experts Stefan Gössling of Lund University in Sweden and Daniel Scott of the University of Waterloo in Canada will give a public lecture on tourism and the environment during the Beyond Nature conference.

The conference will also feature a plenary session looking at the tourism issues associated with the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

Key Dates:
ATLAS Asia-Pacific: Tourism After Oil
3-5 December 2006
Commerce Building

New Zealand Tourism & Hospitality Research Conference: Beyond Nature
5-7 December 2006
Commerce Building

“Tourism and the Environment”, Stefan Gössling and Daniel Scott
Tuesday 5 December, 7.30pm, Castle 1 Lecture Theatre


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