In 2014 our industry set ourselves the target of growing tourism’s value to $41 billion a year by 2025.
At the time, that seemed to be an aspirational goal – nearly doubling our total annual revenue.
Yet just three and a half years later, we are well ahead of schedule and tracking to achieve the $41b goal several years early.
Tourism has traditionally been cyclical and the forces impacting on it are often out of our control. But your Board believes that we should be taking the opportunity during good times to develop strategies that ensure we look after our economic future and the resources we use to operate.
Accordingly, the TIA team has a major project underway that will establish high level industry aspirational goals relating to economic, environmental and social sustainability.
Financially sustainable businesses are able to invest in environmental and social sustainability, maintaining and enhancing New Zealand for future generations of residents and visitors.
We are aiming to generate widespread support for sustainability across the industry and positively influence the behaviours of individual businesses, with the emphasis on practical actions that will make a difference at the industry level, as well as directly benefiting the businesses themselves.
We plan to launch the Tourism Sustainability Commitment at the Tourism Summit Aotearoa in Wellington on 14 November. There will be an opportunity for tourism businesses to publicly commit to achieving sustainable goals and I encourage you to seriously consider supporting your industry by signing up.
At its most recent meeting, your Board also discussed another project that is strongly linked to the social sustainability aspect of the Tourism Sustainability project – how to improve New Zealanders’ understanding of the benefits that tourism brings to their communities.
In other words, we all need to tell the Tourism Story better. The industry also needs to have a strong voice on wider issues that can adversely impact on tourism. Current examples are fresh water quality, immigration and building construction costs.
TIA is working with Tourism New Zealand on a range of tactical responses to these challenges, including an increased presence in traditional and new media.
Your Board is delighted to welcome three new members for the 2017-18 term. AccorHotels’ Gillian Millar, Wellington Airport’s Steve Sanderson and Air New Zealand’s Duncan Small attended their first Board meeting.
We farewelled Grant Lilly, Adrian Littlewood and Christopher Luxon. I thank them for their efforts, in particular Grant Lilly who has served on the TIA Board since 2006, including three years as Chair.
Finally, I was delighted to be re-elected as Board chair for another year, with Jeroen Jongejans (Dive! Tutukaka) and Richard Lauder (Real Journeys) continuing as co-deputy chairs. We look forward to another busy and successful year for our industry.
Grant Webster, TIA Chair & thl CEO