The New Zealand Tourism Strategy has been released just in the nick of time according to tourism exporters.
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Conservation Minister Eugene Sage today released Aotearoa-New Zealand Government Tourism Strategy which he says focuses on maximising the benefits of tourism growth while managing and mitigating the risks.
Included among its initiatives are plans to address the peaks and troughs of the sector by smoothing seasonal fluctuations and extending the high season and attracting visitors to lesser-known areas.
Tourism Export Council (TECNZ) Chief Executive Judy Chen says with tourism numbers increasing over 40% in the last five years it was time for the government to have a relook at the industry and do some planning for the future.
'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.
Our industry has grown exponentially in the past five years, and while that is great news for the New Zealand economy, it has created some obvious pressure points.
We are delighted that the Government has stepped up its resource of the tourism industry and already started to address pressing issues such as infrastructural requirements through the Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
The Provincial Growth Fund has also helped to boost tourism offerings in regions which could benefit from more tourism.'
But Ms Chen says it is also important to ease the pressure points to ensure New Zealand benefits from sustainable tourism growth which is spread across the country.
'The 'Mood of the Nation' research that was released last week showed that while New Zealanders are mostly positive about the tourism industry, concern has grown in key destinations such as Queenstown.
New Zealanders are one of our industry's greatest assets as we are known as great hosts. As the industry grows, we must manage the flow of visitors across the country and the seasons to ensure our local population is not detrimentally affected by additional visitors.
Tourism is New Zealand's largest export industry contributing 21% of foreign exchange earnings. This strategy sets out the framework and direction for the next chapter in New Zealand's tourism story and will help ensure we preserve and grow our reputation as a quality tourism destination.'