Tourism 2025 - 2 years on

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You may recall that in 2014 the Tourism Industry Association (now Tourism Industry Aotearoa) introduced a strategic framework for achieving total tourism revenue of $41 billion by 2025.  Tourism 2025 was launched in March 2014 following an extensive industry-led process to identify and understand the factors determining tourism success.  How are we looking as an industry 2 years on from setting this aspirational goal?

Well, two years on the growth has exceeded all the forecasts.  Tourism was worth $29.8 billion in the year to March 2015 and strong growth in overseas visitor numbers, together with a buoyant domestic tourism market contributed to a record $3.8bn increase in tourism spending for the year ending March 2016 to $43.7bn an increase of 12.2% following a 10.3% increase in the previous year.

The industry is enjoying this growth and the added benefits, however, rapid growth also turns up its own challenges and issues that need to be factored into the future thinking of industry professionals and those charged with dealing with this growth.  Tourism 2025 two years on will reaffirm the growth framework with the five themes that continue to provide a focus for businesses in their planning process: productivity for profit, driving value through outstanding visitor experience, growing sustainable air connectivity, prioritising insight to drive and track progress and targeting for value.  

To ensure that this growth can be sustainable it is paramount that the industry continues its efforts to more evenly spread the benefits of tourism by reducing seasonality and increasing regional dispersal to ensure better utilisation of the tourism assets and people.   Tourism New Zealand has committed all of its marketing budget to promoting shoulder season visits to New Zealand and to promoting more areas of New Zealand which are off the beaten track.   To support this and to make sure we can benefit from off season visitors we need to be ready, open and willing to welcome visitors at all times of the year.  Added to this we should ensure outstanding visitor experience to our visitors every day. 

Visitors of today are well informed and have instant access to reviews and other travellers’ experiences through social media, they are looking for authentic experiences, off the beaten track with local people. The Tourism 2025 framework prompts us to listen carefully to our visitors, constantly hone our understanding of visitor needs and continually improve our visitors’ experience.  A real selling point for Fiordland is that we have authentic and personal New Zealand experiences and the opportunity for visitors to meet passionate local people in spectacular landscapes and natural beauty – when it comes to what visitors want we are well and truly ticking the boxes.  Individually and collectively we all have a part to play in meeting visitor expectation in order to provide the outstanding experience that visitors will remember and will tell others about via word of mouth, social media or travel reviews wherever they are from.  Let’s continue to ensure that their experiences in Fiordland exceed expectations every time.

Tourism 2025 Two Years On can be viewed at www.tourism2025.org.nz.