Tourism operators from around New Zealand have gathered today to discuss the future of the industry at the Discussing Tourism conference in Auckland.

The second of Tourism Industry Aotearoa's 2019 regional forums, the one-day event will travel to three other locations this year. The series started in Tauranga on 22 July and continues next week in Queenstown (29 July) and Christchurch (31 July).

“The annual series of regional events provides an important forum to discuss the issues, challenges, and opportunities facing tourism businesses, and connects local businesses with industry leaders,” said TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts.

Chris Roberts

“Our industry has now entered a new phase where the growth will be less spectacular than the past five years. What can we expect and how do we better plan, fund and manage sustainable growth and ensure tourism enhances Aotearoa for future generations?”

The programme includes presentations on innovation, finding a business's purpose, and measuring and reducing a business's carbon footprint.

With local government elections taking place in October, operators will also be encouraged to take the opportunity to raise awareness among Mayors, Councillors, election candidates, council officers, and communities of the value of hosting international and domestic visitors.

"Tourism contributes to the economic and social vitality of every region in New Zealand. As an industry, we want to work collaboratively with local government to develop the visitor economy and ensure growth is being managed in a sustainable way," Roberts said.