November 04, 2008
The key message for new government ministers from the CEO
of Destination Marlborough, Dominic Moran, is to take the
tourism industry seriously as NZ’s largest export sector.
Briefings to incoming ministers could help government decide
on the centre’s share of the investment needed for local
Wine Marlborough marketer Marcus Pickens says it is time
to treat the tourism sector with more seriousness nationally
and regionally. He says now is the ideal time to invest in
our tourism sector at a regional level, and take advantage
of views such as that of the UK based travel operator who
ranked Marlborough as being one of the world’s top 10
Mr Pickens speculates that Marlborough’s wineries and
associated activities would collect a large share of tourism
dollar spend in the region. Investment in regional tourism
would greatly assist us in encouraging highly skilled people
to work in our cellar doors, in our wineries in marketing
positions and as tour operators in Marlborough he says.
Marlborough Portage Resort co-owner Dain Simpson says central
government should resource local government to do sustainable
and other things of national importance it wants done locally,
such as recycling rubbish. Marlborough District Council lacks
the funding it needs to maximize rubbish recycling. Dain Simpson
calls for a fundamental review of local government financing
to align functions with funding. He advocates a whole of government
approach to improving tourism production and marketing.
On the campaign trail Mr Key and Labour leader Helen Clark
both advocated accelerated spending on infrastructure to help
manage NZ’s response to the international financial
crisis. This would contribute to tourism development.
National Party Leader John Key has gone further, and confirmed
that if Prime Minister he would take the ministerial tourism
But Mr Key’s media release on tourism did not comment
on whether he would increase the Tourism New Zealand budget
– an investment called for by Dr Moran.
“It is premature to be commenting on tourism funding
issues” a media spokesman for Mr Key told Asia Pacific
Mr Key’s media release said there are many opportunities
for New Zealand to forge ahead in tourism – “provided
we take a focused co-ordinated approach to our international
“That’s why I believe there would be an obvious
role for me to use the office of Prime Minister to pro-actively
advance the cause of the New Zealand brand by leading our
“As part of that I will ensure that all our international
agencies, be they Tourism New Zealand, New Zealand Trade &
Enterprise, or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade,
all work more closely together, effectively as the external
arm of “NZ Inc’.”
Dr Moran says “What is needed is a tourism task force
team that has senior cabinet members in addition to the Minister
of Tourism so that the industry needs are not relegated to
about number 20 on the list of priorities”.
• Tourism NZ needs more funding - but carefully focused
on key markets (not necessarily China but certainly our traditional
• NZ’s environmental promises must be better delivered
in simple ways e.g. recycling, litter, public toilets etc.
Carbon credits don’t fix these things!
• Destination management must be supported in the regions.
We must up skill our service and hospitality sectors and support
local government in providing appropriate infrastructure to
support tourism and community development.
Advice communicated to officials now drafting BIMs for use
as soon as the new government is formed, can have an influence
on policy and administration.
The CEOs of government agencies use this time of transition
between Parliaments to gather judgments and information incoming
ministers need to know.
Ministry of Tourism research shows there is a clear decline
underway in tourism activity that is affecting New Zealand
and many other countries around the world.
Dr Moran wish for new ministers to take the industry seriously
as NZ’s largest export sector, rather than just using
it for “feel good PR” when it suits, may prove
to be advice incoming ministers want to use.