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Tuesday , November 21 2017

Tourism’s benefits for NZ can grow

The tourism industry is delivering enormous benefits to New Zealand that can be maximised if the new Government works in partnership with the private sector, according to Tourism Industry Aotearoa.

In its brief to new tourism minister Kelvin Davis, TIA points out that tourism is New Zealand’s fastest growing economic contributor, as well as its biggest industry, biggest employer and biggest export sector. The Brief identifies some immediate priorities for industry and Government to partner on. It also makes 24 specific recommendations to the new government that would see tourism increasing its contribution to New Zealand’s economy if implemented.

“It’s a lengthy but very achievable list of outcomes,” TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said.

The industry’s immediate priorities are:

Engagement: An open, capable and well-informed Government system, with strong political leadership and genuine partnership with TIA and the private sector. This requires:

  • Adequate funding of tourism policy and research capabilities within Government
  • Recognition of tourism issues across all of Government
  • Maintaining support of Tourism New Zealand and making greater use of its capabilities to tell the tourism story and influence tourism outcomes in New Zealand.

Sustainability: An industry-led commitment to a sustainable tourism future, with Government endorsement and support. This requires:

  • Positive policy and regulatory settings that encourage business innovation
  • Increased funding for the Department of Conservation
  • A commitment to improve our fresh water resources
  • Making measurable progress on Predator Free New Zealand.

Infrastructure: New Zealand has a highly desirable tourism product that the world wants, but we have to reinvest back into our product to ensure it continues to deliver outstanding visitor experiences. Commitment is needed from both the public and private sector. This requires:

  • Identification of the most pressing local and mixed use infrastructure priorities
  • Council access to funding assistance through a structure that is free from political influence
  • Removing barriers to private sector investment in infrastructure.

People & Skills: Attracting and retaining staff with the right skills and attitude is a top industry priority. With the rapid growth in tourism, acute labour shortages are appearing. The industry and Government must work together to deliver the expanding workforce that is needed. This requires:

  • Government and industry in partnership attracting more Kiwis to work in tourism
  • Ensuring immigration settings allow employers to secure quality staff when no suitable New Zealanders are available.

Funding: All visitors pay taxes and are more than paying their way. Additional taxes are not favoured and could be counter-productive by discouraging potential visitors to travel to New Zealand. Any new tax needs to be fair, workable, efficient, applied nationally and ring-fenced for tourism investments. This requires:

  • Reinvesting more of the existing tourism tax dividend being received by Government
  • Before proceeding with any new tax proposal, working closely with the tourism industry on its design.

“We look forward to discussing these priorities further with Minister Davis and his Cabinet colleagues. On the back of record tourism growth, there are many opportunities and challenges for the Government and industry to tackle together,” Mr Roberts said.

“The industry is looking forward to hearing about Mr Davis’ plans for his new portfolio when he makes his first major speech as Tourism Minister at TIA’s Tourism Summit Aotearoa in Wellington on Tuesday, November 14.”

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