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Tourism wants urgent clarity around council reforms
20 March 2012
The tourism industry wants urgent clarity around what the local government reforms mean for one of New Zealand’s most important sectors, says Tourism Industry Association New Zealand Policy & Research Manager Simon Wallace.
“Tourism pumps $63 million per day into communities throughout New Zealand and supports one in ten jobs. To cut local government support and investment in tourism without that slack being picked up by central government would be short-sighted with potentially dire economic consequences for New Zealand,” says Mr Wallace.
Local Government Minister Nick Smith wants local authorities to be restricted to providing good quality local infrastructure, public services and regulatory functions at the lowest possible costs, but Mr Wallace says the government has not explained whether tourism related spending will be retained as a “public service”.
“Councils are a vital partner for the tourism industry, supporting the sector in a myriad of ways, including backing for events like WOMAD, building stadiums that attract major events such as the Rugby Sevens, funding art festivals, and providing financial backing for destination promotion through Regional Tourism Organisations and i-SITE Visitor Information Centres.”
Mr Wallace says events like the Christchurch Ellerslie International Flower Show, which is sponsored and supported by the Christchurch City Council, and community facilities like the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery which receive funding from the New Plymouth District Council, help attract domestic and international visitors to regions and communities and encourage them to stay longer and spend more.
“These visitors generate billions of dollars annually, directly into tourism related activities, transport and accommodation, and also in downstream sectors, such as retail, supermarkets, cafes, restaurants and service stations.”
Regional Tourism Organisations NZ (RTONZ) Executive Officer, Charlie Ives, says one of the big benefits of tourism is that it profits regions throughout the country, is the lifeblood of communities such as Kaikoura and Ranfurly and has helped transform centres like Wellington into vibrant destinations.
Mr Wallace says TIA and RTONZ are seeking an urgent meeting with the government to discuss the proposed local government reforms.
For further information, please contact:
Tourism Industry Association (TIA)
DDI: 04 496 5001
Mobile: 027 600 4565
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