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Launch Of The Ministry Of Tourism

The new Ministry of Tourism will provide a strong voice for the sector within government.

Tourism Minister Mark Burton will deliver that message this evening to tourism sector representatives gathering at Parliament for the official launch of the Ministry of Tourism – Te Manatu Tapoi.

The Ministry, which has evolved from the previous Office of Tourism and Sport, was established this year as part of the government's response to the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010.

"The government worked in partnership with the private sector to develop the Strategy," Mark Burton said, "and the tourism sector itself identified the need for an upgraded tourism policy function. This mandate from the sector establishes a very sound basis for the key role that the Ministry will play.

"Tonight's function recognising the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism is important for a number of reasons. Having a dedicated policy agency with the status of a Ministry signals that the Government recognises the value of the tourism to the New Zealand economy - almost 10 percent of New Zealand's GDP - and also the complex environment in which it sits.

"There are a range of complex interactions between tourism and our society, our environment and our cultures. These need to be understood and addressed in a systematic manner. Without this policy capacity, I believe that we would not be in a position to achieve the goal of maximising the economic development benefits from tourism for New Zealand, whilst protecting and preserving the environment upon which it is based.

"We must be able to make tourism work for us," Mark Burton said.

"The function is also an opportunity to introduce the Ministry's new General Manager, Ray Salter. Ray's background is with the Ministry for the Environment and he brings with him a wealth of highly relevant policy experience. I certainly look forward to working with Ray and his team as the work programme of the Ministry of Tourism is advanced across its many fronts.

"It is vital that tourism has a strong voice within government and that is exactly what the Ministry of Tourism will provide. It will represent tourism within and across government, and will lead policy development processes on a range of tourism-related issues."

The Ministry has three functional areas:

- To provide tourism policy advice and assistance to the Minister of Tourism, and within government on a host of tourism-related policy issues.

- To support the activities of the Tourism Research Council New Zealand and purchase the core tourism data sets, develop an applied research programme, and ensure this key information gets out to those who need it.

- Advise on and evaluate government investments in tourism, administer the Tourism Facilities Grants Programme and assist with major events.

"These are vital activities for tourism and I am delighted to have secured the support of my ministerial colleagues to invest in building the capabilities that will ensure that these functions are delivered to the highest standard," Mark Burton said.

"My message to tourism operators is that we are all working towards the same objective - a strong tourism sector that delivers wealth and jobs for our people, while positively contributing to those social, cultural and environmental values that make New Zealand such a special place to live in and to visit."

Ends

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