Hope Otago will benefit from boost

Hamish Saxton.
Hamish Saxton.
A nationwide umbrella approach to boosting tourism will mean more money injected into Otago, industry leaders say.

The Tourism Industry Association (TIA) has released its vision to almost double the tourism industry's annual contribution to the national economy, from $24 billion to $41 billion by 2025.

Dubbed ''Tourism 2025'' the plan is the first of its kind in that it sets a collective goal for the entire tourism industry.

It has support from Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) and Regional Tourism Organisations New Zealand, input from the country's largest tourism operators including Air New Zealand, and buy-in from a variety of industry groups such as Qualmark, the Holiday Parks Association of New Zealand and the New Zealand Automobile Association.

In terms of overall tourism industry growth, those in Otago say a bigger pie means a bigger slice for the region.

Tourism Dunedin chief executive Hamish Saxton said Tourism 2025 provided a ''highly valuable'' common goal and strategic framework for everyone in the industry.

''We estimate there are over 400 businesses involved in the visitor economy in the Dunedin area, and there are 29 regional tourism organisations nationwide.

"The sector most definitely needs to be brought together to work towards a collective plan or goal, so a document like this has use in that regard,'' he said.

Mr Saxton said benefits of the plan were not just financial.

National research about visitor demand and patterns would ''shed some light'' on opportunities for investment and development in the region, he said.

Tourism Waitaki general manager Jason Gaskill said Tourism 2025 identified key aspects of growth, and the challenge ahead was for industry players to identify and implement the best ways to align with the framework.

Ultimately, a shared vision was a positive thing for the sector, Mr Gaskill said.

''In the forefront of everyone's vision will be this unifying, common objective. If we all have the same objective, the same goal, the industry can't help but end up there,'' he said.

TIA chief executive Martin Snedden said to achieve a $41 billion economic contribution by 2025, there had to be 6% year-on-year growth in international tourism and 4% year-on-year domestic growth.

''The focus is value rather than visitor numbers. We will grow volume, but we will grow value faster,'' he said.

The TIA spent about 18 months developing the framework in collaboration with industry leaders.

TNZ chief executive Kevin Bowler said the organisation's business plan would be aligned to Tourism 2025 and its additional Government funding used to meet the document's themes.

rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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