Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tourism ‘Key’ to transforming NZ economy

John Key and Associate Tourism Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman as soon as possible.

Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Chief Executive Tim Cossar has been quick to grab headlines and has already had some face-time with Key and Coleman. While it is hoped that MANZ will be able to work with the TIA in some areas, the association will need to communicate a more pragmatic and business friendly point of difference to the incoming government in order to serve it's members.

Contrary to the TIA, MANZ should be supportive of maintaining the existing Tourism NZ budget and call for a line by line cost benefit analyst of expenditure.

Tourism NZ funds should be diverted away from marginal markets and the back office to fund a domestic tourism campaign.
Further funds could be freed from amalgamation of some services with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise .

MANZ should be supporting any moves to improve the plight of small business (ie its motel members). That may include improving labour laws (support the 90-day trial period for new employees), reducing government bureaucracy, lessening taxation and compliance, rationalising local government, reducing impact of ETS etc.

The TIA should be left to the fluff of saving the planet, demanding a nationalised convention centre and prancing about creating committees for the Rugby World Cup.

The tourism industry will meet new Tourism Minister John Key as early as possible to discuss how the industry and government can work together to lift New Zealand out of economic recession.

Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Chief Executive Tim Cossar says the industry looks forward to building a strong partnership with Prime Minister John Key and Associate Tourism Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman.

“Mr Key’s decision to take the tourism portfolio is recognition that tourism is a bedrock of New Zealand’s economy and is of major importance in overcoming our current economic challenges,” Mr Cossar says.

“As Prime Minister, Mr Key is a natural front person for “Brand New Zealand” and this will present some powerful opportunities to promote New Zealand overseas.”

Having a top-ranking Cabinet Minister, if not the Prime Minister, appointed to the tourism portfolio was a top priority in the Tourism Industry Election Manifesto, released in September.

“We are delighted that the incoming Government is giving tourism the recognition it deserves. In the current economic climate, we believe there is a real need for increased government investment to market New Zealand internationally in a much more aggressive manner. This is crucial to ensure travellers are aware of New Zealand and what we have to offer, in traditional markets like Australia, the UK and USA, as well as in newer markets like China, India and the Middle East.

”We need fast action and a tactical response to the business challenges we are facing – an absolute priority will be to focus on the Australian and New Zealand visitor markets.“

Mr Cossar was among a group of industry and business leaders invited to meet Mr Key last week, but he will seek a second meeting as soon as possible to discuss the priorities for tourism with Mr Key and Dr Coleman.

“Tourism already contributes $50 million a day to the New Zealand economy and will be a big part of the solution to getting New Zealand out of its current recession and putting it in a stronger position for the future,” Mr Cossar says.


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