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Tourism Toolkit shows sustainability in practice

Tourism Toolkit shows sustainability in practice

Sustainability is more than just a buzz word for the tourism sector, says Tourism Minister Mark Burton.

Speaking at this year’s Local Government New Zealand conference, Mark Burton today launched a new Tourism Planning Toolkit, designed specifically to help local authorities maximise tourism’s benefits while minimising any impacts on their communities.

“Tourism is New Zealand’s biggest industry, and set to continue a strong growth path. By 2009, international visitor nights are projected to increase by more than 50 per cent. More importantly, international visitor spending will increase by nearly double that rate—over 90 per cent—up to $11.74 billion. This level of spending affects us all.

“In 2001, I launched the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010, a key document that was developed in partnership with key industry stakeholders. We agreed that if tourism was to be sustainable, we must focus on yield and balance the sector’s obvious economic benefits with the care, protection, and enhancement of New Zealand’s natural and made environments.

“This Tourism Planning Toolkit will help local government understand and measure visitor demand, visitor satisfaction, and the economic impact of tourism in their region. It also enables local authorities to inventory the sector, gives models to help evaluate tourism projects and events proposals, and offers ideas on how to monitor progress.

“Economic well-being is not just about revenue. Real well-being, both now and for future generations, means looking after all of our capital—human, built, natural, social, and cultural. The tourism sector is well aware of this.

“To achieve these goals, we have to focus on quality, not quantity. This means offering world-class product and encouraging guests to visit some of our less well-known tourism destinations. In short, we have to make sure every region in New Zealand can benefit from tourism. The Toolkit offers practical ways to support this.

“New Zealand has already been lauded internationally for our focus on sustainability. Earlier this year, we featured twice in the first-ever global assessment of sustainable tourism practice. The survey, conducted by National Geographic, ranked the South Island second and the Bay of Islands seventh in the world.

“The sector will always have issues and challenges to face, both in the short and long term. But, by continuing to find new and better ways to manage the impacts of tourism, the industry is well positioned to keep strengthening its twin foundations of long-term sustainability and economic benefit.”

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