New Zealand's ''100% pure'' brand was still great for tourism
promotion and the challenge should be to ''live up to the
brand'' rather than changing it, Tourist Industry Association
chief executive Martin Snedden said yesterday.
Mr Snedden gave a wide-ranging talk on tourism and
conservation issues to about 200 people at a national
conservation conference hosted by the Yellow-eyed Penguin
Trust at the Dunedin Centre.
''The branding is great. It's exactly what it should be,'' he
said in a later interview.
The challenge was to ''live up to the brand, rather than to
change the brand''.
Mr Snedden told the ''Conservation Inc'' conference New
Zealand's clean, green image and ''100% pure'' brand had
proved long-lasting and sustainable.
Surveys continued to show that a high proportion of overseas
visitors still had a ''very high regard'' for the cleanliness
of the country's environment.
But a ''strong feeling'' was emerging among New Zealanders
themselves that everybody, including the Government, should
be doing more to maintain and enhance the environment, and
that this should ''come up the pecking order'' of overall
''We don't, as New Zealanders, want to see the environment
gradually going down the drain.''
A good place to start was by improving water quality.
The current National-led Government had had to face major
international economic problems and initially put more
emphasis on securing the nation's economic situation than on
Mr Snedden referred approvingly to an editorial in
yesterday's Otago Daily Times which highlighted the
role of ''Collaboration and innovation'' in boosting New
Zealand's merino export returns.
The country's environment could also be better protected
through working together on common interests rather than by
simply criticising without offering alternatives.
Mr Snedden noted Conservation Minister Nick Smith, speaking
at the same conference on Thursday, had advocated setting up
a community-led forum to make recommendations to the
Government for an Otago marine protection area.
He believed Mr Smith was a genuine supporter of the
environment, and ''might just be a catalyst to something
During a question and answer session, Mr Snedden was asked
about the idea of charging overseas visitors to access
national parks. It was a topic worth exploring but any
discussion should be led by the Department of Conservation,
Several factors should also be taken into account, including
the costliness of making any collections in some
circumstances, and the need to ensure any money raised was
directed towards environmental needs.