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Research Recommends New Definition Of “High Value” Tourists

New research has revealed that the definition of “high value” should be reassessed by New Zealand’s tourism industry.

According to the research conducted by Wellington social enterprise GOOD Travel, assessing tourists based only on their monetary value is a flawed approach, and a risk to the recovery, resilience, and sustainability of New Zealand’s tourism industry. The research involved interviews with 15 experts including leading sustainable tourism operators, industry bodies and university tourism professors.

GOOD Travel’s researcher Josie Major says there was a strong consensus amongst research participants that a holistic, values-based, community-led approach is essential to tourism’s recovery.

“Values-based tourism is a step away from high volume (designed to attract as many visitors as possible) and high value (designed to attract the highest spending visitors possible) models of tourism. Instead, values-based tourism seeks to attract visitors who share New Zealand’s values, or the values of specific destinations within New Zealand,” explains Major.

The participants of GOOD Travel’s research recommended that to achieve such a shift, it is necessary to bring together destination marketing and destination management objectives. By establishing what is important to destinations from a community perspective, these values can then be used to market to visitors who will contribute to that vision.

“If we choose to focus on marketing to visitors who share New Zealand’s values - kaitiakitanga (environmental guardianship), whanaungatanga (connection and belonging), manaakitanga (hospitality and welcoming) - then we will attract visitors with attitudes and intentions that will build tourism back to be sustainable, resilient, and thriving,” says Major.

With extensive debate following Minister Nash’s plans to focus on attracting wealthy tourists, this research offers a fresh approach to how we understand “value” in tourism. By focusing on the values of our visitors as opposed to just their monetary value, Aotearoa could set an example globally of what a vibrant, resilient, values-lead industry can look like.

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