Tourism Industry Worried Cuts Will Hurt NZ Long-term
Tourism Industry Aotearoa is welcoming tourism policies by political parties to aid the industry.
However, it continues to have concerns about under-investment in the sector and tourism’s ability to be competitive on the world stage.
Its concerns include $60 million in proposed funding cuts over the next four years, affecting Tourism New Zealand, New Zealand Cycle Trails programme, and the Innovation Programme for Tourism Recovery, which will lose $30m.
TIA is particularly concerned about cuts to Tourism New Zealand, which stands to lose $15m, and which appears to be disproportionate to the baseline savings being made elsewhere.
“We’re very concerned for Tourism NZ, and that our tourism funding is falling behind other countries, especially Australia,” Ingram says. “TNZ ensure our New Zealand remains competitive on the world stage.”
This year tourism has also seen the end of the Go With Tourism skills programme and the Tourism Infrastructure Fund, which has resulted in much-needed roads, toilets, carparks and other facilities.
Tourism remains one of New Zealand’s top three export industries. Ingram acknowledged that it could seem “counter intuitive” to suggest tourism needed funding or direction.
“Despite our size, tourism has a lack of industry good funding, research, or data for planning and for innovation,” she said.
Most tourism operators were small to medium businesses still recovering from the pandemic. And as tourism recovered, there was an opportunity to do it in a managed and more meaningful way.
Tourism’s economic benefits include substantial tax for central government through GST and the International Visitor Levy. As a result, TIA is calling for secure, sustainable funding for TNZ and important industry good activities and tourism infrastructure.
“We cannot let tourism develop by accident,” she said.
“We have a plan, but it will need commitment and courage from all those involved, whether government, industry and range of other stakeholders, to make it happen.”