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Kaikoura becomes the leader in sustainable tourism

Kaikoura becomes the leader in sustainable NZ tourism

Kaikoura has an edge over other tourist towns after becoming the first full township in the world to earn the sustainable Green Globe certificate, a New Zealand tourism expert said today.

The seaside township will tonight be recognised as a global industry leader when it receives its Green Globe award.

Kaikoura has earned its environmental certificate after demonstrating it was helping community residents and regional tourism while also providing a quality and enriching tourist experience.

Lincoln University tourism lecturer Professor David Simmons says the green Globe process had brought the Kaikoura community together under a single banner.

``This has compelled community action to a common goal which is far broader than the tourism industry itself.

``The town has also taken a series of real initiatives that put the community on a robust pathway to sustainability that reaches out from the tourism sector into broader aspects of sustainable settlements and livelihoods.

``This now allows Kaikoura to stand out as a beacon for other destinations, not just in New Zealand, but globally.’’

The environmentally-responsible tourism evident at Kaikoura was expected to have great congruence with the types of tourists and market image that New Zealand had successfully developed, he said.

Twenty years ago, at the time of massive changes in the NZ economy, Kaikoura was one of many small towns that were hit hard by restructuring and withdrawal of government services.

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Unemployment hit high levels (in excess of 20 percent) and this was especially evident among the Maori community.

Dr Simmons and his Lincoln University team undertook a major research project on Kaikoura in 1998. By then tourism was registering 30 percent of local employment and had replaced those full-time occupations lost through restructuring.

Many New Zealanders will recollect when Kaikoura was a quick fish and chip stop on the way to or from the Picton ferries. Today it is a bustling sophisticated destination in its own right.

Dr Simmons said the real question remained how could Kaikoura retain control of its tourism development while maintaining the positive stream of benefits that served local needs in the first instance.

The Green Globe Asia Pacific chairman Sir Frank Moore will present the award to Kaikoura tonight.

Tourism Minister Mark Burton, NZ Tourism chairman Wally Stone and other key players in the tourism industry are attending.

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