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Tourism Needs New Types Of Tourist Experiences

Tourism Industry Needs New Types Of Tourist Experiences, Say Researchers

Researchers are looking at how new tourist experiences and products can help keep our tourism industry working and create new employment and investment opportunities for our communities.

Julie Warren, leader of the Wellington based study said New Zealanders and overseas visitors alike are looking for new experiences.

“Tourists want to understand and interact with the cultures, history and natural features of the people and places they visit,” said Ms Warren.

“New special interest tourism products such as, Maori cultural tours, cafes, restaurants and accommodation based in heritage buildings, heritage tours and museums and art galleries, are meeting some of this demand.”

An investment of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, this research is looking at how these new forms of tourism contribute to the sustainability of the industry and help local economies.

“The tourism industry as a whole can benefit from the creation of these new visitor experiences. The more diverse our tourism industry is the more effectively we can respond to changing tourist preferences,” said Ms Warren.

“Communities can also benefit, because new businesses and new ways to use existing resources can mean more investment and job opportunities.”

The research is been carried out at the Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment in conjunction with Nick Taylor at Taylor Baines and Associates. The researchers have been working with a small number of communities to identify planning and management issues. They have also developed a framework for identifying and developing their local heritage tourism resources.

“We have been amazed at the variety of heritage products available and their growth in numbers over the last 18 months,” said Ms Warren.

“But, like rural and eco-tourism, profitability of individual enterprises is usually low and operators often lack the skills and support to make improvements. As well, the conservation of this rich heritage base is usually dependent on the hard work of a small number of people, often volunteers.

“Enthusiasm is high in this industry though, maybe because profit is not the main motivation for people’s involvement. Operators’ first interest is often maintaining heritage sites, restoring machinery or buildings, caring for historic and other collections, maintaining marae and preserving tikanga,” said Ms Warren.

Julie Warren, Director, Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment Tel: 04 473 3071, Julie@cresa.co.nz


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