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Tourism Measures Announced By Government

Comprehensive Package Of Tourism Measures Announced By Government

The Minister of Tourism Mark Burton today announced a series of new initiatives, which brings to around $5 million the amount of additional government funding support provided for tourism this summer.

The latest initiatives involve the expansion and enhancement of the Qualmark rating system, and funding support for Maori tourism, regional tourism organisations and local government.

They follow on from the government commitment to establish a Ministry of Tourism, $2 million of additional funding for tourism promotion in the vital Japanese market, funding to leverage projects off the Lord of the Rings trilogy and America's Cup, and the announcement in December of enhancements to Tourism New Zealand.

"Taken together, these measures represent the government's initial response to the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010, which I released last year," Mark Burton said. "I expect to announce up to $1.5 million of further funding initiatives in support of Tourism Strategy in the coming months."

The government has agreed to invest an additional $2.5 million in Qualmark over the next two and a half years.

Qualmark is an independent classification and quality rating system for accommodation and tourism retail businesses. It is funded by its two owners – the government, through Tourism New Zealand, and the NZ Automobile Association – and by revenue from licence holders.

The government cash injection will be used to significantly expand the current grading system to include adventure tourism, transport activities and retail, eco-tourism and attractions and to provide a business certification process to encourage best business practice adoption in the tourism sector.

"Qualmark provides visitors with a reliable standardised quality assurance system. This is essential to our positioning of New Zealand as a quality destination," Mark Burton said. "And by linking the marketing advantages of belonging to the Qualmark system to the adoption of best business practice, individual businesses and the tourism industry as a whole will benefit."

The government is also funding three public/private sector partnership arrangements.

$169,000 has been allocated to assist Local Government New Zealand in responding to the recommendations of the Tourism Strategy.

"Currently the level of local government investment in, and understanding of tourism, varies considerably around the country. The funding provided will assist local authorities to realistically consider the role of tourism as an economic driver in their area. The money will be used among other things for tourism training programmes for mayors and councillors, the establishment of a local government tourism working party and the staging of a national symposium on Tourism and Local Government.

"We hope to create a long term commitment to the tourism sector from the entire local government sector, through broadening appreciation of just how vital the industry is for regional development and the whole New Zealand economy," Mark Burton said.

$32,000 will be provided to enable regional tourism organisations to establish a working group to advance their response to the Tourism Strategy recommendations.

"Among the issues to be canvassed are involvement and cooperation in destination marketing and management, possible provision of common back office support to reduce costs and the future role and structure of RTOs," Mark Burton said.

In response to Tourism Strategy recommendations aimed at increasing Maori participation in the industry, $25,000 is being allocated to fund the Maori Tourism Advisory Group.

"Obviously, making progress on the recommendations affecting Maori requires Maori support and input, and the Maori Advisory Group has already shown itself, during the development of the Strategy, to be well equipped to take a leading role in providing advice on how Maori can best participate in, contribute to and benefit from tourism," Mark Burton said.

The Government has also acted on the recommendations of He Matai Tapoi Maori: A Study of Barriers, Impediments and Opportunities for Maori in Tourism.

This report, initiated by the Minister of Tourism and the Minister of Maori Affairs, was released publicly in October 2001.

"Arising from the report's recommendations, we will be developing a market research programme for Maori tourism and facilitating increased representation of Maori interests on key tourism bodies. The government has also agreed to look into ways and means of effectively promoting business enterprise culture amongst Maori, at methods to improve communications between agencies working with Maori in tourism and at ensuring that existing business assistance programmes meet the needs of Maori.

"The government has responded in a comprehensive way to the recommendations of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy and He Matai Tapoi," Mark Burton said.

"When, as the newly appointed Minister, I initiated this work, in cooperation with the industry, some questioned the need for such an extensive review of a sector, which was enjoying boom times. As I said then, it is better to look to the future when times are good, so that you are able to respond when challenging issues arise.

"The extensive work this government has done to establish strong partnership links with the tourism sector, places New Zealand in a very strong position to work through the challenges currently facing global tourism.

"And in the medium to long-term, while there is still a great deal more to do, I believe we have set the foundations for the development of a sustainable tourism industry, which will benefit all New Zealanders," Mark Burton said.


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