TRENZ trade fair, Rotorua

New Zealand Minister for Tourism Damien OThe New Zealand government has unveiled a draft tourism strategy that seeks to put sustainability at the heart of the destination’s global image.

Minister for Tourism Damien O’Connor said the country has no choice but to commit to a sustainable future.

“Visitors will become increasingly discerning in the face of increasing global awareness of carbon emissions, travel miles and climate change,” he said.

“Addressing sustainability will be a defining issue, not only for the tourist industry, but for New Zealand as a whole.”

Research commissioned by Tourism New Zealand found that more than 40% of visitors to the country are worried about the environmental impact of flying.

O’Connor pointed out the strategy, which has been jointly developed by the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Industry Association New Zealand, would not leave tourism businesses out in the cold, and that profit was integral to developing and supporting what he called the four pillars of sustainability: environment, industry, culture and society.

The government plans to use a variety of measures, including market-based initiatives such as emissions trading, incentives to use cleaner products, and regulations on imported vehicles and building development to achieve its aims.

Asked whether the drive toward sustainability conflicted with an increasing focus on luxury tourism, O’Connor insisted that sustainability did not mean reducing tourism expenditure or putting checks on top-end product.

New Zealand is already in a strong position to benefit from consumer demand for green credentials, added O’Connor, highlighting the global recognition of the country’s 100% Pure brand.

He said: “The brand’s influence goes well beyond tourism. It defines how our country and our exports are viewed worldwide.

“Our challenge is to double our commitment to the meaning of 100% Pure.”

  • TRENZ was made the world’s first carbon-neutral international tourism trade show with the help of the Rotorua Sustainable Tourism Charter, a group of businesses committed to improving their environmental performance.