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Improving tourism experience, guarding environment

Hon Mark Burton
Minister of Tourism

Hon Chris Carter
Minister of Conservation

4 August 2005 Media Statement

New project to improve the New Zealand tourism experience and safeguard the environment

The Department of Conservation is to help the tourism sector explain New Zealand’s natural heritage to overseas visitors, and measure tourism impacts on the environment, the Minister of Tourism, Mark Burton and Conservation Minister, Chris Carter announced today.

Mark Burton said he had approved funding for the development of an Interpretive Resource Kit and Visitor Impact Monitoring Toolkit.

“We know that overseas visitors love experiencing our natural environment, culture and history, so it’s important that they get the right information; ultimately, this will benefit operators and most importantly the visitor,” Mark Burton said.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter said that information given by operators needed to be accurate and authentic, and allow visitors to connect with our environment and understand how New Zealanders interact with it.

“We are also serious about protecting New Zealand’s environmental values, and we are working on this with the tourism sector.”

“There is general agreement within the industry that as tourism continues to grow, the impacts of tourism on public conservation land and on visitors’ experiences will inevitably increase,” Mr Carter said.

“We need to better understand the potential effects of tourism and manage them.”

Visitors on DOC land can cause or contribute to impacts such as perceptions of crowding or conflicts between different user groups (for example mountain-bikers and walkers), and on the physical environment, Mr Carter said.

The Interpretive Resource Kit and Visitor Impact Monitoring Toolkit will be developed by DOC and are due to be completed by 2007.

The Interpretive Resource Kit will include written material, a CD Rom and online support through the DOC and Ministry of Tourism websites and will be distributed to tourism concessionaires and marine mammal tourism permit holders around the country. Tourism operators will be offered training workshops.

The Visitor Impact Monitoring Toolkit will include a manual with CD-Rom and online support. Issues covered by the toolkit will include ways of measuring visitor satisfaction, the effects of overcrowding on DOC land, the impact of scenic flights over DOC land on ground-based visitors, as well as measuring the depth and width of tracks and damage to vegetation from trampers.


ENDS

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