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Quality on show: New Zealand Tourism Awards 2004

Thu, 26 Aug 2004

Quality on show: New Zealand Tourism Awards 2004

Mark Burton's closing speech at the New Zealand Tourism Awards 2004.

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Mayor Clayton and Sue Stent, TIA Chair Geoff Burns and Board, CEO John Moriaty, industry leaders from around New Zealand, and all our international guests-welcome.

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou e huihui mai nei ("Warm greetings to you all who have gathered here")

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

What a great year it's been. As we all know - this time last year, the global travel industry was facing enormous challenges. In the face of those challenges, New Zealand has once again shown itself to be quick to mobilise, and highly adaptable.

2003 was the year New Zealand really emerged as an international success story. Very few nations will have seen positive growth in either visitor numbers or expenditure in 2003. We achieved both.

Our strong domestic figures demonstrate the value Kiwis do place on seeing their country and - as I said yesterday - 2003 figures also officially confirm that tourism is New Zealand's number one export earner.

I congratulate you all for your part in making this happen.

Our collective investments in our brand and our product, and in developing a united vision for the future, have proved their worth yet again. And tonight, we celebrate our sector-wide commitment to quality, sustainability, and a long-term future for New Zealand's most exciting and valuable industry.

Tonight's finalists embody our vision for the future. Tonight's finalists value quality. They value best practice in their businesses. They value their customers, and they go the extra distance to make sure that their customers enjoy their New Zealand experience-100 per cent.

Each of tonight's finalists has opened their doors, and their books, to scrutiny from a team of industry experts, and each of them have shown themselves to be world class.

To tonight's winners, congratulations. Tonight is about your success, which, of course, reflects back onto the industry as a whole. Tonight is the result of your dedication and your belief in your business. Celebrate it and enjoy it, as we celebrate your achievement with you.

In my almost five years as Tourism Minister, I have seen a strong sense of partnership develop between the government, local government and the wider tourism sector.

I value that partnership. I take great pride in the role that I have been privileged to play as we have built a strong sector together, and I'm committed to us taking it even further-together.

To that end, I announced yesterday a new prestigious Tourism Scholarship fund to boost sector research, and the second series of the successful T V series "Business Class".

And then this morning, I announced funding to promote awareness and utilisation of the Tourism Planning Toolkit, developed in association with Local government New Zealand - so I'm on a roll!

I've talked much about the pivotal importance of building yield in the Tourism growth equation - so tonight I'm pleased to tell you that this morning the Minister of Finance and I signed off on a significant proposal to establish a three- year research programme that will examine a bundle of areas that contribute to tourism yield.

This is the perfect place to make this announcement. The $1.4 million research programme research will generate a significant body of new knowledge and will result in the development of a set of tools to enable improved yield performance across the tourism sector.

And so, with that on behalf of everyone who has attended, my thanks to all those involved in organising and staging the event.

With absolute conviction, I want to congratulate John and the team at TIANZ, who have once again organised a most successful conference.

I am delighted that this year, my home town has had the honour of hosting you all. I hope you have enjoyed your stay and that you have the opportunity to stay on and explore further the amazing Central Plateau.

And finally, congratulations again to all of the finalists, and especially to the winners-tonight is your night, and you absolutely deserve it.

ENDS

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