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Partnerships essential for sustainable tourism

10 March 2004 Media Statement

Partnerships essential for sustainable tourism

Minister of Tourism Mark Burton and Minister of Conservation Chris Carter are visiting Molesworth Station today, where they will meet with officials to discuss issues surrounding the government’s recent decision to transform the station into a protected farm park

The ministers will also take the opportunity to discuss wider strategies for sustainable tourism.

“The long-term sustainability of New Zealand’s thriving tourism industry is dependent upon striking the right balance between managing the impacts of tourism on our unique environments and reaping its potential economic benefits. We must encourage visitors, both domestic and international, to travel at different times of the year, stay longer, increase their spend, and visit not only the traditional spots, but venture out into less familiar regions,” said Mark Burton.

“Achieving this goal will take the efforts of the government, the sector, and the many agencies involved in managing our conservation estate.

“Molesworth is an extraordinary area for recreation, offering opportunities for walking, mountain biking, trout fishing, tramping and horse-trekking. Last summer, although the road was only open for six weeks, Molesworth attracted 7000 visitors. There is scope to attract many more, while still protecting, preserving, and enhancing this spectacular landscape and maintaining its farming operation.”

Chris Carter stressed Molesworth’s importance as a hotspot for biodiversity.

“A high proportion of species in the area are found no where else in the world. Molesworth itself sports 77 plant and lizard species that are threatened with extinction, including one plant species that lives only in the station and no where else in New Zealand.

“The permanent protection of Molesworth as a reserve will enable DOC to increase the focus on protecting these species and informing the public about them. At the same time, DOC and Landcorp will work together to keep Molesworth’s farming operations viable.”

During their visit, Landcorp staff will brief the ministers on:

- Molesworth management
- Environmental aspects of the station
- Commercial issues
- Public access
- Roading
- Pest and weed control, and
- Historic buildings

Both ministers agreed that the multi-agency approach to managing Molesworth was an ideal example of the kinds of partnerships that will lead to a truly sustainable tourism sector.

“This government has already put $349 million into visitor access and worked closely with the industry to develop the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010. Molesworth is only part of realising our vision of a network of spectacular conservation parks down the eastern side of the Southern Alps. Working together with the industry and the wider community, we will encourage future growth in tourist numbers away from traditional tourism sites to other equally dramatic areas.

“In other words, we will spread the load, preserve our environments, and maximise economic benefits across New Zealand.”

ENDS

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