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Government looks to minimise costs of tourism to New Zealanders

Nov 17, 2020

The new Tourism Minister has announced New Zealanders will no longer subsidise international visitors to the extent they have in the past.

Stuart Nash has unveiled four key themes he will focus on to a sold out crowd at Tourism Summit Aotearoa in Wellington this morning.

They include strengthening Brand New Zealand, prioritising sustainability, and more partnership between government and industry.

Nash said too often ratepayers and taxpayers have picked up the bill of the impact of tourism on infrastructure and the environment.

He said the full cost of tourism needs to be priced into the visitor experience.

"New Zealanders should not be subsidising international visitors to the extent that we have done in the recent past," he said.

"I have asked officials for innovative solutions to minimise the costs to New Zealanders of tourism. This includes ensuring visitors pay for the privilege of participating in the New Zealand experience."

Nash did not want the industry to strive to return to business as usual, saying sustainability should be the priority.

"Tourism in New Zealand will never return to how it was before Covid-19 dramatically affected us. New Zealanders expect a tourism sector that supports their communities and businesses.

"We must attract high value and high spending visitors who buy into our own vision of sustainability. We must therefore deliver high quality visitor experiences and exceed our visitors expectations," he said.

Nash said some freedom campers have abused New Zealanders' renowned hospitality.

"I firmly believe that the low-spending but high-cost tourist is not the future of our tourism industry."

He said Tourism NZ is working hard to that New Zealand's "brand" does not "languish in these troubled times".

"To do this and mitigate risk we very clearly need to understand our global value proposition then communicate this to key target demographics in a way that engages and leads to action. We then must live the brand and deliver our brand promises."

Nash said he is looking forward to working with the tourism industry to address the challenges ahead, although he does not under-estimate them.

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