No awards for New Zealand tourism in Rugby World Cup year
Aug. 12 (BusinessDesk) – This year’s local Tourism Industry Awards have been put on hold as operators struggle in a tepid economy and focus their efforts on the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off next month.
The Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand won’t hold its annual awards this year after its members said “the business demands created by the current economic climate mean they do not have the resources available to focus on creating comprehensive award entries.”
That’s in a year meant to showcase the nation’s tourism sector with 95,000 visitors set to descend on New Zealand for next month’s tournament. Before the latest estimate was updated, the Reserve Bank was picking the event to inject some $700 million into the economy.
The association said it doesn’t want to distract operators from their Rugby World Cup preparations with the awards, and that the Canterbury earthquakes had been a drag on the sector.
“Taking all these factors into consideration, TIA made the difficult decision to put the awards on hold this year,” chairman Norm Thompson said in a statement. “We are currently considering options for the 2012 awards to ensure they continue to meet the needs of the industry at this time.”
New Zealand’s tourism sector is hoping the Rugby World Cup will kick-start a stalling industry which has struggled since the global recession in 2008 sapped foreign appetites for long-haul travel to the South Pacific, while Asian travellers, who were more willing to spend, stayed at home after the 2009 swine flu pandemic.
Visitor arrivals to New Zealand fell 10% in June, according to government data, after ash clouds from Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano disrupted travel and cancelled flights