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Political and Public Attention Top Priority for Tourism

Visitor economy will drive economic growth

Keeping tourism at the centre of political and public attention so that it can build on the gains of the past three years and deliver increased wealth to New Zealand is the industry’s number one priority for the incoming government.

The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) will launch its Tourism Future Statement 2011-2014 The Visitor Economy: Creating Wealth at The Langham, Auckland this evening (Tuesday 30 August, 6pm).

The Tourism Future Statement 2011-2014 outlines tourism’s top five priorities for the incoming government after the 26 November General Election, says TIA Deputy Chairman Oscar Nathan.

“Worth $22.4 billion annually, tourism employs almost one in ten New Zealanders and is the country’s largest export industry, earning more foreign exchange than any other sector.”

Mr Nathan says the industry pumps $61 million into the economy daily, up from $56.6 million three years ago.* (*Statistics New Zealand Tourism Satellite Account, YE March 2010 ($61m) and YE March 2007 ($56.6m) )

“This growth has been achieved despite the industry facing three of the most turbulent years on record, with challenges including the Global Finance Crisis, which continues to bite in some key traditional visitor markets, natural disasters, in particular the Christchurch earthquake which impacted on the whole tourism industry, and the high New Zealand dollar.”

He says tourism is a resilient and forward-looking industry which is working hard to increase its market share of international travellers, in particular high value visitors. However, central government support is vital if the industry is to fulfil its potential and deliver even greater wealth and jobs.

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“A thriving tourism industry will be fundamental to the new government achieving its economic growth agenda. We currently welcome 2.5 million international visitors annually. If we can lift that figure by just 2% in the coming year it will deliver an additional $120 million in annual visitor spending, equating to $360 million over three years.”

The tourism industry’s five priorities for the incoming government for the next three years are:

Delivering Value
Keeping the industry at the centre of political and public attention will be important in building on the gains achieved in the past three years and delivering value to the New Zealand economy.

Improving Infrastructure
While New Zealand’s natural environment provides the setting for a range of visitor experiences, quality infrastructure is needed to support the range of activities that visitors enjoy.

Making Travel Easier
Making travel easier is integral to a great holiday. Creating seamless border experiences and removing barriers for people travelling to New Zealand will be critical to growing international visitor arrivals.

Providing Relevant Information
Dynamic changes within the industry and economy mean the delivery of relevant and timely information is critical for business planning.

Stimulating Domestic Tourism
It is time to make a holiday at home aspirational and help New Zealanders see their country through an international lens.
Mr Nathan says the priorities build on those the industry set for the incoming government in the 2008 Tourism Industry Election Manifesto.

“A collective effort by the industry has seen us achieve good progress on most of those priorities, in particular securing the Prime Minister as the Minister of Tourism, which has helped gain recognition for tourism as bedrock of the New Zealand economy.”

The Tourism Future Statement 2011-14 includes a scorecard charting the current government’s progress against the industry’s 2008 priorities.

Mr Nathan says the Tourism Future Statement’s five priorities and supporting action points are based on input from hundreds of tourism operators who attended TIA’s nationwide road show series earlier this year, and feedback from industry leaders.

TIA will be campaigning to ensure the priorities play a major part in helping to shape the tourism policies of the incoming government. A pocket-sized highlights booklet is being sent to every TIA member and candidate in the November General Election encouraging them to read the full document at TIA is also inviting tourism operators and industry organisations to promote the priorities.

“The website includes a toolbox to help operators lobby their local MP and election candidates to ensure they understand the importance of tourism to their region and the potential for the visitor economy to create even greater wealth for New Zealand,” says Mr Nathan.

“The tourism industry wants to work in partnership with the government to achieve our collective goals. We’ll be working with the incoming government throughout the next three years to position tourism at the heart of New Zealand’s growth agenda.”

Go to to download a copy of the Tourism Future Statement 2011-2014 The Visitor Economy: Creating Wealth

The importance of tourism to New Zealand – TIA member quotes
“Tourism is very much a growth industry. It’s one we need to work on improving the yield from. If we can do that it’s going to make the overall tourism industry even more important for this fantastic country that we live in. It’s going to be important for our children. It’s going to be important for our children’s children.”
Norm Thompson, Deputy Chief Executive Air New Zealand, TIA Chairman

“Tourism provides lots of jobs for our local people, it provides a profile, it provides an economic driver for the community and for the whole of the North. It gives us an opportunity to be more sustainable with our environment, to invest in our environment and get something positively back out of the environment. All in all, it provides education, employment and opportunities for families to live in our area.”
Jeroen Jongejans, Director, Dive! Tutukaka

“Every visitor that comes to New Zealand not only samples our tourism products, they also consume, see and experience many other export products while they are here. A visitor to New Zealand is far more likely to sample and buy our products (dairy, beef, lamb, wool, clothing and appliances) having visited here. Tourism has huge marketing value for all New Zealand export industries and products”.
Tim Barke, General Manager, Kiwi Discovery, Queenstown

“The things that make New Zealand a good place to live are those good things that tourists enjoy too. So if you enjoy going skiing in Queenstown, there aren’t enough of us to afford those facilities, it is the visitors that put that infrastructure into place.”
David Perks, Chief Executive, Positively Wellington Tourism

“We are not going to be world leaders in commodity production so tourism is a natural and obvious generator of wellbeing and high production income. The potential is there for tourism to be a real driver of economic growth in our country.”
John Barrett, Managing Director, Kapiti Island Nature Tours, Kapiti Island

“We bring people in from overseas and scatter them to all the corners of New Zealand and the income and the benefits are right across the regions and cities.”
Erna Spijkerbosch, Owner, Queenstown Top 10 Holiday Park “Creeksyde”

“Tourism is good for the country because it utilises the resources we have. It’s a great contributor to the economy and particularly in regions, it’s very good for employment.”
Dave Hawkey, Chief Executive, Real Journeys


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