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Sustainable tourism pilot launches in Wellington

WellingtonNZ selected Tourism Industry Aotearoa to run the new programme which will support smaller tourism businesses who don’t necessarily have the tools or resource to track, measure and report on their efforts towards carbon neutrality.

WellingtonNZ general manager David Perks says the three-month pilot will make it easier for tourism businesses to embark on a meaningful sustainability journey.

“Most tourism businesses have good intentions when it comes to lowering their carbon footprint but there currently isn’t a clear road map on how they can easily meet their sustainability aspirations. That’s where this pilot comes in.

“The programme is aligned with local and national goals of building tourism into a sector that adds vibrancy to our communities whilst having a regenerative impact on the environment.”

Businesses in Wellington involved with or reliant on tourism are diverse, ranging from hotels, restaurants, buses and boats to tours and a variety of visitor experiences.

Ryan O’Connell runs Switched on Bikes, an electric bike tour company. He believes sustainability shouldn’t be an add on and makes every decision as a business owner through a sustainability lens.

“We show Wellington’s beautiful landscape off to visitors, so it’s important we’re doing our part to protect it.

“Sustainability for us is more than just reducing waste, and recycling tyres and batteries. The biggest win we can have is to influence the behaviour of our customers once they return home. We give people such a good time on an electric bike tour, that they go home to wherever they live, get into e-biking and bike more and drive less.”

Paul Retimanu from Manaaki Management, managers of Te Wharewaka Functions and Events, Karaka Café and Kawakawa Eatery says his business is taking part to give them the data to keep them on the right track.

“We know we’re doing a lot of things really well but don’t have the tools to measure the impact. We’re keen to track our initiatives so we can share it with customers and staff and keep us on the journey.”

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts says the programme will eventually benefit tourism operators around the country. TIA is the kaitiaki of the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment which has been adopted by more than 1560 tourism businesses. The TSC aims to embed economic, visitor, community and environmental sustainability actions into business systems, processes and plans.

“This pilot programme gives us an amazing opportunity to work intensively with the selected businesses as we strive towards our vision to lead the world in sustainable tourism,” Chris says.

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