NZ tries to live up to green marketing promise

Living up to New Zealands 100% pure marketing promise will be a key theme of the upcoming Tourism Industry Conference 2007 (SKYCITY Convention Centre, Auckland, 29-30 August).Representatives of New Zealands $18.6 billion tourism industry will be seeking ways to meet the challenges of increasing environmental awareness among international visitors.

The first day of the conference will focus on climate change and environmental sustainability. This has to be our key focus if we are to retain credibility with international visitors from our key source markets, especially the UK and Europe.

They are increasingly aware of the potential environmental impacts of long-haul travel and question whether they can justify flying around the world for a holiday, Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Chief Executive Fiona Luhrs says.The challenge for our industry is to ensure international visitors are compelled to travel to New Zealand because of the way we protect our environment - because we really are 100% Pure and offer outstanding, responsible travel choices.The conference will be opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark, whose Government is committed to action on climate change.The days line-up of speakers will include business sustainability consultant Nick Jones of Nick Jones & Associates, and representatives of a variety of agencies who can assist tourism businesses to become more sustainable, including Landcare Research, the Ministry for the Environment, Qualmark, Green Globe, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and the Department of Conservation (DOC).A highlight of the proceedings will be a panel discussion by tourism operators who have already put environmental sustainability into practice in their businesses. These include Alan Forsdick, General Manager of Awaroa Lodge in the Abel Tasman National Park, which is a leader in sustainable business practices. Awaroa Lodge won the Innovation in Eco-tourism category in the Tourism Industry Awards 2005. It has won international recognition for the restoration of its neighbouring wetlands, and uses compost made from kitchen waste on its onsite organic garden which produces fresh herbs and vegetables for the Awaroa kitchen.

Mr Forsdick says visitors are increasingly aware of environmental issues and are demanding to see evidence of good environmental practices.Its definitely not a fad. This is something the New Zealand tourism industry must embrace if we hope to maintain our clean, green image. Its not just about big projects every business can take steps like recycling paper and supporting environmentally responsible suppliers. InterCity Group Chief Executive Malcolm Johns will also be a panellist. InterCity Group aims to be the worlds first carbon neutral national public transport operator within three years.InterCity, which includes the premium coach company Newmans Coach Lines, InterCity Coachlines and Kings Dolphin Cruises & Eco Tours, is philosophically committed to sustainability, Mr Johns says.We are fundamentally changing the way we do business to reduce our carbon footprint and the carbon footprint generated by our Kiwi and international customers. For more details on the conference programme or to register, go to www.nztourismconference.co.nzMore than 250 people are expected to attend the Tourism Industry Conference, recognised as the most important annual forum for the tourism industry. The conference is managed by TIA, with support from key industry partners including the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism New Zealand. Key statistics about tourism: Tourism is the world’s fastest growing industry New Zealand tourism arrivals have increased by 61% since 1999 to 2.4 million Forecast annual growth is 4% on average for at least the next five years Tourism is New Zealand’s single largest export sector and contributed $8.3 billion dollars to the economy in the year ended March 2006. That is 19.2% of exports Domestic tourism contributes $10.3 billion to the economy each year Tourism directly and indirectly employs 10 percent of the work force. That is one in 10 jobs in New Zealand. Tourism represents 8.9% ($12.8 billion) of gross domestic product and generates $531 million in GST returns from international visitors each year. Tourism is the only export sector whose international clients pay GST.
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