Hon Peeni Henare, Minister of Tourism, New Zealand, recently addressed TRENZ 2023 recognizing the role of tourism in the country’s economic recovery and its potential to showcase New Zealand as a sustainable destination on the global map.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism was one of New Zealand’s top export earners, contributing a total value of $40 billion. However, the global halt caused by the pandemic brought the value of international tourism to zero overnight. While visitor numbers are slowly recovering, the industry still faces significant challenges, including labour shortages and changing traveller preferences due to COVID-19 and climate change.
“The world is experiencing a time of change. The pandemic and climate change have influenced people’s values, travelling styles, and business resilience. Countries worldwide are exploring ways to limit visitor numbers and prioritize sustainability. New Zealand itself has made significant strides in this regard, with initiatives such as Queenstown Lakes’ commitment to becoming a carbon-zero visitor economy by 2030,” says Henare.
Tourism New Zealand is actively marketing the country to high-quality visitors who will positively contribute to society, culture, nature, and the economy. “To further advance the industry’s transformation, the New Zealand government has established industry transformation plans (ITPs), with tourism being one of the key sectors. The Better Work Action Plan for tourism is the first phase of the ITP, aiming to create a stronger and better-skilled tourism workforce. It focuses on areas such as education and training, cultural competency, tourism accord, and innovation to provide a more fulfilling experience for visitors,” adds Henare.
“Stakeholders, tourism operators, and visitors play crucial roles in making the industry transformation plan successful. Research is underway to address tough questions and evaluate the industry’s fitness for purpose. Furthermore, attracting high-quality visitors who align with New Zealand’s values and encouraging sustainable practices among travel sellers are essential,” he adds.
In conclusion, Henare highlighted the government’s commitment to enabling the aspirations of the tourism industry and the regions. He firmly believes that tourism can contribute to a productive, high-wage, low-emissions economy while delivering unforgettable experiences to visitors. With a focus on sustainability and collaboration, New Zealand aims to bring tourism back to the country in a responsible and regenerative manner.