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Burton: Delivering on the promise of quality

Tuesday 30 November

Hon Mark Burton: Delivering on the promise of quality: Speech to the official opening of the Outrigger at Clearwater Resort

Tena koutou katoa and Aloha. Thank you for inviting me to join tonight’s celebrations, and to officially open the Outrigger Clearwater Resort. A special welcome to our offshore guests, especially the Executive team from Outrigger Hotels and Resorts.

I know the industry will be pleased to see yet another significant investment in New Zealand—clearly yet another positive sign for the sector’s future.

I ‘d also like to welcome the new management contract between the historic Terraces Hotel in Taupo and Outrigger.

Last week, I officially re-opened this 115-year old tourism icon, newly refurbished to recreate the character of the original Hotel, while providing a quality facility equipped to meet the demands of discerning travellers.

Like Clearwater, The Terraces is adjacent to some of the most spectacular natural environments anywhere, and just moments from some of the best, most unique tourism product available in the country.

Clearly, the Outrigger team is prepared to invest in (and partner with those committed to) quality.

Tourism Contribution to the Economy and the Canterbury Region

Latest figures show a record-breaking number of visitor arrivals coupled with an even higher level of spending.

In 2003, international tourism’s contribution to total exports was $7.4 billion—close to 18 per cent of our total exports. Combined with our strong domestic market, total tourism spending represents nearly 10 per cent of GDP ($16.5 billion).

For the Canterbury region there is more good news. Latest accommodation figures show that Canterbury is well ahead of the national average in guest night increases this year.

In the period to 2010, total visitor nights in the Canterbury region are forecast to increase by 26 per cent to over 16 million.

New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010 and Quality

Why is New Zealand tourism so successful? Certainly, we are no ordinary destination.

Guests can enjoy adventure tourism, spas, world-class food and wine, a wide range of quality accommodation, wildlife, skiing, unique cultural events, and more—all set against the backdrop of the world’s most beautiful, unique, and diverse landscapes.

Without a doubt, New Zealand has it all.

But with such success comes responsibility. Government recognises that we have to protect the things that attract our guests—sometimes from halfway around the world. Sustainable development is critical to ensure a long-term future for our thriving tourism sector.

With that in mind, we worked in partnership with key industry stakeholders to develop the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010, which outlined practical ways to build towards sustainability.

These working partnerships continue.

One of the strategy’s objectives is improving business practice and environmental responsibility. The government was pleased to support the New Zealand establishment of Green Globe 21, the world’s only global tourism certification programme.

Just last week, I attended celebrations in Kaikoura, where they became the first town in the world to be Green Globe 21 certified.

Kaikoura’s certification is a practical step towards sustainability that shows the international community we are serious about achieving high environmental standards in tourism.

Our spectacular landscapes and unique environments define us to prospective overseas guests. Whale Rider and the LOTR trilogy showcased them to millions of moviegoers internationally.

(Of course when they get here, they see we are so much more!)

Our 100% Pure marketing campaign—a widely recognised, award-winning brand—also makes the most of such images in our target markets around the world.

But if we are going to continue to deliver on our promise, we all need to take sustainability absolutely seriously.

Today, we all know that quality is at the heart of a sustainable tourism industry. Visitors who share good memories and experiences create an ever increasing “buzz” about New Zealand, in turn attracting more ideal visitors.

The benefits speak for themselves – happy, satisfied guests not only contribute to the sustainability of our tourism sector as a whole—they increase the profitability of your own businesses. But it has to be about quality, at every level, and for every single guest.

Over the past five years, there has been a fundamental shift in the New Zealand tourism mindset as we developed the strong government/sector partnerships I mentioned before.

The development and (even more important) implementation of Strategy 2010 are evidence of a relationship that simply didn’t exist before 1999.

I consider myself privileged to have worked through this transition with the industry, and some outstanding industry leaders, as Minister of Tourism.

We continue to work closely with the sector to resource and improve quality standards through such initiatives as Qualmark.

Today, Qualmark has expanded to become New Zealand tourism’s official quality mark. Qualmark certification provides visitors with easily recognisable, independent assurance that they can book and buy with confidence, from a professional and trustworthy operator.

Outrigger Hotels and Resort’s philosophy of exceptional customer and employee satisfaction, underpinned by your focus on staff development shows a commitment to delivering quality at every level.

You crucially recognise that your people are your most important asset.

Your excellent attitude towards employee satisfaction will help retain and develop your staff—both key industry issues highlighted in the Tourism Workforce and Skills projection report that I launched earlier this month.

Outrigger at Clearwater Resort has already proven it is a world-class venue by hosting the prestigious ING New Zealand PGA championship in 2004—scheduled to return in 2005.

I applaud your vision in creating a facility that caters for such a wide variety of purposes, and I hope you will continue to surpass the expectations of your customers for many years to come.

Conclusion

In closing, I would like to congratulate Robert Kenny and Ken Harris from the Outrigger team – you can be proud of what you have achieved here at Clearwater Resort.

I would also like to acknowledge Dr Chuck Kelley and Bill Brown for coming all the way from Hawaii – Aloha, and I hope you will enjoy the many good things New Zealand has to offer while you are here.

Now, it is with great pleasure, that I declare the Outrigger at Clearwater Resort officially open.

ENDS

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