Tourism Exporters are ensuring they have their say in how to resolve a number of key issues facing the industry on a national and regional level.
Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) Chief Executive Judy Chen has been working with different parts of Central Government on some big issues facing their members such as the delays on holiday and working visa processing, review of DOC concessions, the development and implementation of the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), IVL, as well as the New Zealand Tourism Strategy, tourism data, careers and driving productivity through innovation.
“While we welcome initiatives that improve and support the industry, it’s important that the authorities working on changes are aware of the impact they will make on our members – particularly the commercial realities.”
For example, TECNZ has been working closely with Immigration New Zealand on the new Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) which come into effect from 1 October this year.
It means all air travellers from 60 visa waiver countries, and all cruise travellers, will need to hold an ETA before travelling to New Zealand.
“We have been ensuring Immigration staff engage with the trade who will be key in implementing the ETA. There are significant challenges that will impact directly on our members such as travel agents facing the possibility of having to apply for each ETA one by one. Imagine doing that for a tour party of 50!’
TECNZ has also been speaking with DOC and supporting members who will be significantly impacted by the changes in concession fees.
“On a percentage basis, some of our operators are facing massive hike in fees. But what has been really important has been explaining how our members need to have this information 12-18 months before implementation. That’s the commercial realities of our kind of business.’”
TECNZ will continue to be involved in discussions about where the International Visitor Levy (IVL) should be invested.
These discussions were part of the Government’s stakeholder engagement into the New Zealand Government Tourism Strategy launched at TRENZ in May.
‘For some time now, our members have been calling for New Zealand’s tourism policy settings to be addressed as they are no longer fit for purpose for the environment we now operate in.
We are delighted that the Government has stepped up its resource of the tourism industry to address pressing issues such as infrastructural requirements through the Tourism Infrastructure Fund as well as boosting our tourism offerings in the regions through the Provincial Growth Fund.
We look forward to working with the Government to ensure the IVL collected from our visitors is invested wisely to ensure the tourism industry continues to benefit New Zealanders as well as helping ensure we preserve and grow our reputation as a quality tourism destination.
Thinking ahead to the next generation of the industry has also been a priority for TECNZ.
Ms Chen says TECNZ has been working for some time to encourage careers in tourism and she was part of the working groups that saw the recent launch of the Go with Tourism campaign and a careers package to attract 40,000 new employees in the next five years by Tourism Industry Aotearoa.
“For too long tourism has been considered a temporary option until something else comes along.
Because of this need, we established ‘YoungTEC’ some years ago as a subsidiary of TECNZ to develop new leaders in our industry with more than 70 participants taking part in our Professional Development Programme this year.
The strict new consumer laws around health and safety have also meant enormous changes for TECNZ members.
“We now provide an online platform for operators to collect, store, and distribute health and safety information which has streamlined the process they had previously. It’s all about minimising risk for wholesalers hosting international visitors here.”
Our industry is not only New Zealand’s largest export earner, but it is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, and it is essential to keep focused on maximizing the benefits of the industry for New Zealanders while also growing our reputation as a premium visitor destination.