NZ tourism backs green initiative

Tourism Minister Damien O’Connor says he is delighted the tourism industry is strongly in favour of New Zealand taking a bold approach to environmental issues.Mr O’Connor was commenting on a second round of industry feedback to the draft New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015, which closed recently.

“The overriding message from the large number of people and groups who provided feedback is that we must all increase the emphasis we place on protecting and enhancing our environment, to send a clear signal to the world that we are living up to the promise of our 100% Pure New Zealand brand. “There is a strong feeling in the industry that the tourism strategy needs to be bolder in this area, and provide leadership, and that ambitious targets need to be set.

This supports the view of the Labour-led Government on the importance of achieving a culturally, socially, economically and environmentally sustainable future.” Targets, on environmental issues such as carbon emissions, increased energy efficiency and recycling, would be developed by government and industry. Mr O’Connor said feedback overall was positive and strongly supported the direction of the draft strategy. “When Fiona Luhrs, chief executive of the Tourism Industry Association, and I launched the strategy update in April 2006, we challenged the industry to fully engage with the process, which will drive the sector over the next 10 years. “I am pleased to say that it has, and would like to thank everyone who took the time and effort to provide feedback. The strategy will be much stronger for it, and will more accurately reflect the challenges and opportunities ahead for the tourism sector, and will set a good example for other sectors to follow.” Other themes in the comments include: ensuring visitor experiences are high quality; recognising the growing importance of domestic tourism; attracting more visitors during off-peak periods; developing closer ties between tourism, local government and communities; and giving greater emphasis to the role of arts, culture and heritage in tourism. Mr O’Connor said that due to the large number of comments and depth of feedback received, more time is required to fully consider all of the issues and the date to launch the final strategy has been revised to later this year.