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Strengthening tourism through quality and info

Pre-Budget announcement - Strengthening tourism through quality and information

Good afternoon, and welcome to you all. I’m delighted to be here, and would like to thank Lenice, Harvey and the De Bretts team for having us here today.

As I look around at this five-star Qualmark rated facility, one of nearly forty Qualmark rated businesses in the Taupo district, I am reminded of one of the main reasons New Zealand’s tourism industry has experienced such strong growth over the past few years.

It’s no accident, and is certainly due to far more than just fortunate circumstances.

I believe that New Zealand’s entire tourism sector has committed itself to building an ever more professional, high-quality tourism industry. A strong commitment to quality and sustainability is becoming the norm throughout the tourism industry.

This attention to quality, along with prudent management, strategic thinking, and strong public/private partnerships, all add up to a strong position for New Zealand’s tourism sector—the best place from which to confront the challenges it is facing, both in the short and long-term.

The government is committed to working in partnership with the sector to confront these challenges from a position of strength.

In partnership with the tourism sector, we formulated the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010, a 10-year plan for the sector’s long-term future. One of the Strategy’s recommendations was the need for a separate Ministry of Tourism, in order to enhance the quality and quantity of tourism policy advice provided to the sector. In response to this the Government considered the issue and, in 2002, the Ministry was formed. Strategy 2010’s main objective was to create a sustainable, yield-driven tourism market—one that strikes a balance between managing the impacts of our growing tourism sector and maximising its obvious economic benefits. By getting this balance right, we can enhance both our visitors’ experience and New Zealanders’ quality of life.

In other words, we must ensure that whatever we do in the short term will guarantee the prosperity and growth of the industry in the long term, while still safeguarding the future of the environments and values that are New Zealand.

To achieve this, we must put quality at the heart of the tourism industry. We must ensure that every visitor receives a world-class experience—in their accommodation, their food, the activities they choose and the environments they visit.

Quality was outlined as a key factor to success in Strategy 2010, and as a direct response to this, the Government has already significantly enhanced funding for the Qualmark brand—a reliable, easily recognised, standardised quality assurance system.

But this commitment to quality must be reflected at every level of the industry. Quality decision-making is also crucial to building and sustaining a secure, long-term future for tourism. Making the right decisions for New Zealand’s future requires that we have a thorough understanding of the trends and dynamics of the tourism sector as a whole.

Such an understanding is dependent upon accurate, timely, and high-quality information and advice, easily accessible to all industry stakeholders.

That is why I am extremely pleased to announce that Budget 2003 contains a $787,000 increase to the Ministry of Tourism’s baseline, which has been provided to integrate and enhance the availability of relevant industry research information. Strategy 2010 made very clear recommendations about the importance of consolidating information under the management of one organisation, as well as outlining the enhancements necessary to meet the needs of the industry. The Ministry has already developed and launched the TRCNZ website (www.trcnz.govt.nz) which offers the full range of tourism sector research data available on line, in one centralised location and in one format.

This has greatly increased data accessibility for the entire sector. This new funding will provide the Ministry with the additional resources it needs to maintain and develop the core tourism data sets.

Specifically, the funding will enable:

improved integration of disparate data sets further development of the Trcnz website improvements to selected surveys which contribute to the core data set new applied research in tourism, and enhanced dissemination of research findings to the industry as a whole.

I am also pleased to announce an additional $1.4 million over the next four years to enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Tourism to provide policy advice.

Tourism’s importance in terms of economic contribution has led to increased expectations for high quality policy advice, both from the industry and other government departments.

Key areas include long-term issues of sustainability, such as infrastructure provision, environmental care and protection, the involvement of Maori in tourism, tourism’s place in regional economic development, the development of cultural tourism, and co-ordination between local and regional tourism work and national level initiatives.

But The Ministry Also Requires The Capacity To Advise On Short-Term Issues That Have The Potential To Impact On The Sector. In Recent Months, The Ministry Has Provided Significant Levels Of Policy Advice To Both Ministers And The Industry On Such Matters As Sars And The Proposed Air Nz/Qantas Merger.

Events Such As These Will Continue To Need To Be Addressed From A Tourism Perspective.

Both of these funding increases will ensure that the Ministry remains well resourced and continues to contribute the kind of quality information necessary to inform the long-term, sustainable future of a world-class tourism industry in New Zealand.

Next Week, I Will Be Making A Significant And Specific Announcement About A Major International Tourism Marketing Initiative.

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