The next Government must give a revitalised tourism industry a central role in the recovery of New Zealand’s regions, according to Tourism Industry Aotearoa.
“Tourism operators and our visitors – both domestic and international – are an integral part of our regions and communities. With support from the incoming Government, we can improve how we manage the interests of visitors and communities so that great places to visit are also great places to live,” TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.
TIA’s Tourism Election 2020 Action Plan identifies ‘Regions’ as one of the six categories where action will be required from the incoming Government. It has listed five action points in this category:
- Expand the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment’s programme to assist regions with destination management planning
- Provide funding to support local government investment in tourism-related infrastructure
- Continue Tourism New Zealand’s mandate to work in partnership with regional tourism organisations and tourism operators to stimulate domestic tourism
- Invest in building a resilient and safe transport system that promotes regional dispersal
- Give local authorities the tools to manage freedom camping.
The importance of the tourism industry to our regions has never been more apparent than now, said Roberts.
“When Auckland went back into lockdown on 12 August, communities around the country noticed the drop in visitor numbers. We had already lost our international visitors this year and now we had lost our biggest domestic market too. From Northland to Southland, tourism and hospitality businesses took another hit, and more jobs were lost.”
TIA’s latest Domestic Visitor Satisfaction survey, carried out by Angus & Associates, shows that New Zealanders overwhelmingly love travelling in their own country. The average rating for their most recent domestic trip was 8.7 out of 10.
Those who included Canterbury, Northland, Taupō and the Coromandel in their itineraries experienced the highest levels of satisfaction but no region rated below 8.6. It also appears that the longer the trip, the higher the level of satisfaction.
One in two Kiwis said the expectations of their domestic trip were exceeded. Just 3% did not have their expectations met.
“Prior to the pandemic, we had identified that the growth in visitor numbers was putting pressure on some communities at certain times of the year, mainly because of a lack of infrastructure. We now have a never to be repeated opportunity to plan for a well-supported, sustainable tourism industry, and we must not miss this chance,” Mr Roberts says.
About the Tourism Election 2020 Action Plan
To support the revival and revitalisation of the tourism industry, the Tourism Election 2020 Action Plan identifies 37 specific actions required from the incoming Government, in six categories – Vision, Partnership, Regions, Natural Resources, Knowledge and People.
TIA has sent the Action Plan to all the major political parties, encouraging them to incorporate the action points into their tourism policies.
The association is also encouraging tourism operators around the country to get involved and highlight the importance of tourism to their local election candidates. They can use the Tourism Election 2020 Action Plan to lobby MPs and raise tourism issues at election meetings.
To read the Tourism Election 2020 Action Plan, go to https://tia.org.nz/advocacy/tia-projects/tia-election-2020-action-plan/