Industry News

Tourism’s Great 2018 Adventure

 2018 has been a great adventure for us at TIA and for the New Zealand tourism industry. Of course there were a few speedbumps and rocks on the road. But we caught many beautiful sunrises and climbed a few mountains we didn’t think we were fit enough to manage. Get out your metaphorical photo album and let’s take a look back at Tourism’s Great 2018 Adventure.

The planning stages of our 2018 trip started out positively – through the Mood of the Nation survey, the New Zealand public showed they were happy to be meeting and hosting new people from all over the world. Admittedly, they were a little worried about how they might manage if extra guests turned up.

The tourism businesses that we used to book our trip, find the best spots to visit and attractions to enjoy were looking forward to the year too – the State of the New Zealand Tourism Industry report showed that tourism business confidence levels were strong.

We’d made some New Year’s resolutions and decided to share them with the family, so the Tourism Sustainability Commitment started off in fine form with plenty of tourism businesses sharing our passion and lining up to join in.

We packed up our bags for a trip south – taking TRENZ to Dunedin for the very first time. TRENZ 2018 was a huge success. We had a great time meeting old and new friends, and Dunedin turned on the charm with great food, beautiful weather and some fantastic attractions.

Then it was back up to Auckland with the very best standards in accommodation on our mind. The New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference had an excellent focus on regional sustainability and this carried through to the Hotel Industry Awards.

We had to navigate our way carefully when the question arose of whether we ask the guests we host in our country to pay for the privilege. Kiwis are known for their manaakitanga, so after a few conversations with the whanau we agreed on an arrangement from next year that might just work for everyone.

In typical Kiwi fashion, we decided to take a tiki tour around the regions for Discussing Tourism, with some great conversations held with the locals. Safe travel is always top of mind, with TIA and Rental Vehicle Association working together on the Code of Practice to help everyone drive safely on our roads, and TIA’s revamp of the responsible camping website letting everyone know exactly what to do to be responsible campers.

On our many trips around the country we took special notice of public facilities, especially the restrooms. With TIA submitting on over 70 council long-term plans this year and having a role on the Tourism Infrastructure Fund panel, we had a particular interest in how regions were addressing the issues that are important to our communities and our visitors. And without any doubt, when on the go, you need somewhere to go.

In the spirit of whanaungatanga, we travelled to Christchurch to celebrate the achievements of our whanau at the New Zealand Tourism Awards. With all of our outstanding people and businesses, we were puzzled as to why more of our young people weren’t joining us, so we did some research on Youth Perceptions on Careers in the Tourism Industry. We also decided we all needed to blow our own trumpets a bit more by Telling the Tourism Story.

As the year began to draw to a close, we invited everyone to join us in Wellington for Tourism Summit Aotearoa to discuss what further adventures might lie ahead, and alongside our public and private sector friends launched the Tiaki Promise, a pledge for all visitors to care for our country.

And remember those challenging mountains mentioned earlier? Well, for the big peak that’s been in our sights for a while, we have just about ‘knocked the bugger off’. We can all take immense pride that the New Zealand tourism industry in 2018 is worth $39.1 billion. Our goal when we set out in 2014 was $41 billion by 2025, and as we are now so close, it might be time to start thinking about a higher peak we might want to tackle….

Yes, after this big adventure of 2018, we’re looking forward to 2019 and going on another adventure all over again.

We’re determined to hit our goal of having 1000 sign-ups to the Tourism Sustainability Commitment by April, and we’ve already exceeded 700. We want to lead an industry journey sustained by good people, quality services and well managed destinations.

There will be plenty of travel, that’s for sure. Pick a time and place and there’s an event to attend next year that’s well worth a roadtrip. TRENZ 2019, Tourism Summit Aotearoa, the New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference and Awards, the New Zealand Tourism Awards, Discussing Tourism… the list goes on. And there are all the shorter trips too - with a particularly well-worn path up to the Beehive that will continue to get plenty of use!

Meri Kirihimete from the team at Tourism Industry Aotearoa, and thank you for joining us on Tourism’s Great 2018 Adventure. We look forward to visiting and working with you all in 2019, and scaling a few more mountains while we’re at it.

- Chris Roberts, Chief Executive.

This column was originally published by Tourism Ticker, 19 December 2018.