New Zealand’s tourism industry is looking forward to engaging with a new draft Tourism Environment Action Plan, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says. The draft plan aims to start a conversation about how tourism can transform into a low carbon emissions industry and can support the restoration of Aotearoa’s natural bio diversity, which is critical to achieving a regenerative tourism model – one that leaves a community and environment better than it was before.
The draft is part of the Tourism Industry Transformation Plan and has been developed by a Leadership Group that includes tourism industry representatives, government, Māori and unions.
Tourism Environment Leadership Group co-chair Laurissa Cooney says the group wants to hear from people with a broad range of views. “We very much see this plan as a draft. We are proposing a radical shift in the approach to tourism and the environment in New Zealand, so a robust discussion now is essential before we make our final decisions.
“It’s important we hear from people with different perspectives and interests and from different parts of Aotearoa. How do they see tourism contributing to environmental restoration here and the ripple impact globally? Which of the proposed actions match their priorities and have we missed anything critical?”
The draft plan is supported by a valuable body of existing work, including TIA’s Tourism Sustainability Commitment and the recent launch of The Aotearoa Circle Tourism Adaptation Roadmap.
TIA Chief Executive Rebecca Ingram says, “It’s important the industry feeds into this draft plan, which will help us develop real, practical actions to protect and improve our environment at this critical time.”
Full border re-opening celebrated
Valuable insights have been gained and a promising summer awaits for New Zealand’s tourism industry, as the country has marked the first anniversary of its borders reopening fully to all visitors.
New Zealand tourism operators now welcome travelers from all countries and a recovery process from the Covid-19 pandemic has properly begun.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Rebecca Ingram says the year since has been a roller coaster but left tourism in a stronger and more reflective state.
“Tourism is not an island – it is connected to so many parts of our economy and our communities. The return of visitors made a difference to many New Zealanders,” she said.
“What I think the last year has highlighted is the need to keep adjusting for a different kind of future.”
For many operators, the recovery has been an opportunity to find new solutions and revise business plans.
For Shayne Forrest, of the Hobbiton movie set in Waikato, the last year has been an opportunity to change things up.
“You can always enhance and improve, so rather than go back to the same old, same old, we’ve looked at opportunities to improve so we can make sure we’re giving the best experience possible for our people.
“Which has been rewarded since people are coming back much quicker than we anticipated.”
Likewise, GO Rentals had found opportunity to embrace new innovations, rolling out more electric and hybrid vehicles.
“There’s a fantastic opportunity ahead in terms of moving from sustainability to regeneration,” James Dalglish of GO-Rentals says.
“It’s interesting because a lot of us in the industry are still trying to work out what regeneration means and many of the smaller operators are still grappling with sustainability.
“For our company, it means a much greater portion of clean cars across both EV and hybrid options and enabling our customers to undertake greener journeys through Aotearoa.”
TIA’s Ingram says tourism is committed to rebuilding in a way that will benefit Aotearoa and New Zealanders.
“Indications are that we are in for a good second summer of recovery, but we have our eyes set on the longer term also, with much work underway to do our part to make positive impacts on the environment and communities we are part of.” (NN – 30-08-23)