First published in Inside Tourism 23 May 2012, issue
A little over nine months ago I was appointed the Chair of
Tourism New Zealand. With expertise in governance and relationship
management, I have spent the first few months of my tenure engaging
with the wider tourism industry. As part owner of a hotel, I have
thoroughly enjoyed obtaining a different perspective of the
industry's unique challenges and priorities.
I have received clear messages about what is important to
tourism operators and what support they look for from Tourism New
Zealand. To meet these needs I am committed to reengaging with the
We have already started, with our first strategic update
sessions completed alongside RTO's throughout New Zealand before
These sessions gave us a chance to present how the industry and
TNZ is performing as well as key components of our FY13 business
plan which is currently before the Board for approval.
There is no argument that tourism is a vitally important
industry to New Zealand. With $9.7 billion international tourism
expenditure it contributes 8.6 per cent to NZ GDP and plays a key
role in the economy.
But we face some big challenges and appreciate it has been
difficult for many in the industry. We continue to confront
economic challenges in Europe and the USA as well as the ongoing
effect of the Christchurch earthquake and Japan tsunami. We have
the rise of new markets with visitor growth from Asia looking set
to out-strip other markets but presenting yield issues with most
tending to be short stay visitors.
Furthermore we have some big competitors. Tourism Australia and
State Tourism Organisation's present a threat to our ability to
attract international visitors, the USA is about to become a much
more active marketer and edgy Asian and South American markets
challenge New Zealand as a cool place for young people to
However, we have some incredible advantages.
We have a strong brand and campaign that other countries would
be envious of. Used for over 12 years, our consistent promotion of
100% Pure New Zealand makes us well understood, recognizable and
We have a very high level of visitor satisfaction with visitors
rating their holiday experience on average 8.9 out of 10. The
ability for visitors to share their experience over social media
presents a huge new opportunity that we are careful to leverage in
our digital marketing activity.
We also provide the stage for great events. The RWC 2011 is a
perfect example of what we can deliver and the release of the
Hobbit movies later this year provides a fantastic platform to
showcase all New Zealand has to offer.
Now in the third and final year of our marketing plan we are
looking to develop the next three year plan to maximize these
advantages and continue to attract high value visitors to New
I am eager to continue to engage with the industry. To ensure
our direction continues to help operators make the most of future
opportunities we will undertake a similar series of sessions in
December to get invaluable input and feedback to our plans before
they are finalized.
I look forward to meeting more operators and to learn from their
experience later in the year.