Tourism operators are being urged to adopt sustainability commitments to help build a better NZ industry.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa yesterday launched its New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment, which establishes eight goals to attain by 2025 and 14 commitments for businesses to help them reach those goals.
The aims include meeting or exceeding visitor expectations, supporting ecological restoration, and reducing environmental footprints.
In his speech to the Tourism Summit Aotearoa in Wellington yesterday, TIA chair Grant Webster said tourism was at the heart of sustainability.
“We are maintaining a very high level of visitor satisfaction and we are better connected with customers than other places around the world. But the question we have got to ask ourselves is, ‘are we really securing the right future for NZ’s tourism industry?’,” said Webster.
New Zealand did not want to be associated with terms like ‘peak tourism’ or ‘overtourism’ – words used to describe destinations such as Barcelona, Venice and Iceland – but the industry here needed to change to cope with growth.
“The reality is, it wont just happen by chance. We need to activate ourselves as an industry. We need to take the lead. We can’t let government do it and, indeed, there is no way we want to be regulated to do it. We need to buy into this,” said Webster.
“The businesses that we operate across the country are the key. It’s what we do on a daily basis and how we challenge ourselves on a daily basis and how we increase our efforts contributing to all these aspects of sustainability that will be key.”
The new Tourism Sustainability Commitment was a response to the boom times experienced by the industry, said TIA chief executive Chris Roberts.
“The Tourism 2025 aspirational goal to reach $41bn a year in total tourism revenue is on track to be achieved a number of years earlier than 2025. This has generated many business and employment opportunities, as well as benefitting New Zealand’s economy and communities across the country,” said Roberts.
“Now we are facing the challenges of managing and sustaining growth. Financially sustainable businesses are able to invest in environmental and social sustainability, maintaining and enhancing New Zealand for future generations of residents and visitors.”
TIA wanted every tourism business in New Zealand to commit to operating sustainably.
“The greater the buy-in, the more powerful it will be,” said Roberts.
“We want a New Zealand where our economy, people and the environment are better off because tourism exists. Together, we can create a world-leading example of a truly sustainable tourism industry that will make a positive long-term contribution to New Zealand.”
To track the tourism industry’s progress, TIA would measure and report annually against each of the eight goals and also on the level of tourism business uptake of the 14 commitments.
Visit www.sustainabletourism.nz for more details about the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment.
Check out our full audio, image and article coverage of the Tourism Summit Aotearoa in tomorrow’s Ticker.