When Statistics NZ announced it was dropping its monthly accommodation survey, key tourism industry figures were quick to voice their concern.
Minister of Tourism Kelvin Davis was among those upset by the news. While he was notified that the survey was being reviewed more than a month ago, he expected an alternative to be put in place, or for Stats NZ's dispute with the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment to be resolved.
Charlie Ives, executive officer at Regional Tourism New Zealand, which represents 30 tourism regions, also made his disappointment loud and clear.
“It is unbelievable that only weeks after Ministers Kelvin Davis and Eugenie Sage announced a strong commitment to improving an understanding of the industry through data, MBIE is ditching a key source of information without offering an immediate replacement,” said Charlie Ives, executive officer, RTNZ.
Ives highlighted the irony of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy launched during TRENZ which said that the Government would look to collect more and new data to get a more thorough understanding of the behaviour of tourists in New Zealand.
“Instead they’ve done the opposite. And what is even more distressing is that a number of tourism industry organisations put considerable resource into supporting a comprehensive review of the CAM in 2015, which came up with some practical, sensible, achievable solutions to improving it.”
Julie White, chief operating officer of Hospitality New Zealand, agreed that the impact the lack of data could have massive implications.
“This information goes towards creating reports that are a vital resource for those accommodation businesses,” said Julie White, chief operating officer, Hospitality New Zealand.
“The hospitality and tourism sector has not been consulted in the Government’s decision to cease funding for this resource that is not only vital to the health of the accommodation sector, but in turn, to New Zealand’s economic growth and health since tourism is New Zealand’s number one export earner, contributing over 20 percent of our foreign exchange earnings, and generating over $100 million per day for New Zealand.”