Can New Zealand Tourism prosper without active leadership?
Eugene De Villiers, Executive Chairman, Extra Mile Company comments “News from the US this past year reflects very clearly that the meetings, incentive and events industry is crucial in the way it supports the local tourism and hospitality industries. When president Obama mistakenly voiced his frustration of Corporate Management practice in the US by condemning off site conferences and meetings the industry went into free fall. Not only was the Meetings industry impacted but in fact tourism as a whole. Hotels, cruise lines, tour operators and airlines all felt the pain. And yet looking at our industry here in New Zealand I fail to see signs of better health without the political misquotes. “
“So let’s evaluate what we know of our industry locally by answering a few questions.
· What happened to project Eagle? What a great initiative between Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand and the industry itself to promote New Zealand to US PCO’s and incentive Agencies. Launched with great fanfare and then buried like so many other great plans! Why?
· Why the big exodus of senior management at TNZ?
· Why do we not have country managers in both the US and UK?
· Has anyone seen our esteemed leader of Tourism at industry events or meetings?
In my view each of the above questions surely indicates that we lack the necessary leadership to grow our tourism industry in New Zealand. We need accountable leadership that will make themselves answerable to expenditure that does not provide satisfactory ROI. We have growth industries like cruising, that are starved for funds, and yet as I look out of my hotel room overlooking the Barcelona harbour I count eight cruise liners docked and dispensing tourists with cash to spend.
The incentive and meetings industry boasts some of the highest secondary spend yet we see totally insufficient funding to ever make New Zealand a relevant option in this segment. The only successful promotion we can see is in Australia where this is funded by the industry itself.
The problem is clear – we need leadership. We need a real leader in tourism!
Folks, it is time to call TNZ bluff, let’s stop playing politics and appoint someone to lead us into tourism growth across all sectors. Clearly we have zero leadership right now. We desperately need this! New Zealand needs this!”