Tourism Industry Aotearoa is urging the Government to carry forward the work done by the Tourism Futures Taskforce so New Zealand can create a world-leading sustainable tourism future.
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has today released the Taskforce’s interim report which he received in December. It makes 21 recommendations to transform the visitor economy.
TIA chief executive Chris Roberts, who is one of 35 members of the Advisory Group to the Taskforce, says it met its mandate to come up with bold ideas to make systemic changes.
“The Taskforce has addressed the major issues and looked towards the tourism industry we, as a country, want to have in 10, 20 or even 30 years and beyond. It has come up with courageous ideas to ensure tourism enriches both New Zealanders and Aotearoa,” Chris says.
“Some of the recommendations are fully formed and others need further refinement. There will not be universal agreement on these recommendations and that was never the intention – this interim report was to stimulate discussions, and allow industry and government to come together and agree on the best way forward.”
This interim report was produced under huge time pressure and was presented to the Minister in early December. The intention was to get some quick feedback and then go back out for further consultation, before completing a final report. As stated throughout the interim report, there is a lot of work still to be done to test and refine the thinking.
“The job is only half done. However, as the new Minister of Tourism, Minister Nash has made it clear that he wants to take a different approach and is identifying his own priorities. This is disappointing, given the time and resource put into the Taskforce. It was asked to provide the blueprint for the future course of tourism but is now seen as just a useful input into government thinking,” Chris says.
“It appears the Taskforce will not get to finish its work and that is regrettable. We must not waste the opportunity we have to make bold changes to fix longstanding issues in the tourism system. To do that, we need a Government that is willing to work hand in hand with the tourism industry to firstly get through this crisis, and then take brave, decisive action that will bring long term benefit for New Zealand and New Zealanders.”