The need to prioritise sustainable tourism that enhances community wellbeing is the central theme of the Tourism Futures Taskforce report, released on Friday.
The Taskforce was established in May 2020 as an independent public-private partnership to consider the future of tourism. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash says the Taskforce report sets out a long-term vision and direction for the sector.
“The Taskforce co-chairs Grant Webster and Steve Chadwick were given a tough assignment,” Nash says. “The Taskforce and its Advisory Group took on a challenging project in the midst of a worldwide pandemic which effectively ended global tourism.
“Their report seeks to re-imagine tourism, long after the COVID-19 recovery period. It sets out a desired ‘Future State’ where the wellbeing of communities is at the centre of the tourism eco-system.
“The Taskforce has delivered a vision for the future and identified some of the changes that could be made to the tourism system. It is consistent with other reports we have received, like that of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.
“The Taskforce also highlights an opportunity for the industry to co-own and co-invest in its future, so much-needed changes can support jobs, businesses and communities that rely heavily on tourism.
“I have already signalled the industry is about to undergo a transformation, as we prepare for borders to re-open and international visitors to return when it is safe. I welcome the industry as partners in this transformation.
“I remain committed to my four key principles for transforming the tourism sector: Brand New Zealand must be protected; we cannot return to business as usual; the full cost of tourism must be priced into the visitor experience; and the Government intends to work in partnership with the sector to achieve change.
“I know the industry has been keen to read the report, and it is a credit to the co-Chairs who have driven this process. Their passion for the industry is evident in the report.
“I anticipate drawing further on the expertise of individual taskforce members as the government works on tourism recovery and a re-set of the sector over the coming year. I want to reiterate my gratitude to the Taskforce co-Chairs, members, and Advisory Group for their dedication and enthusiasm. Their work will be a useful contribution in moving towards a more sustainable tourism sector,” Nash says.