Over 1.3 billion people took a trip to another country last year, up seven percent on 2016 and forecast to grow another 50% in the next decade. Tourism continues to be a massive part of the world’s economy, and predictions from the World Travel & Tourism Council and United Nations are that a quarter of all new jobs on the planet in the next ten years will be in tourism. In New Zealand, both directly and indirectly, tourism employs one in every seven jobs. Questions around the world have started to rise as to whether there is too much tourism, with places such as Barcelona and Venice starting to see these effects.
Chris Roberts, chief executive TIA, says the conversation has moved from ‘let’s get more tourism growth’ to ‘how do we manage that growth and how do we deliver value from that growth?’. ‘We’ve got to optimise the value of that growth, to show that growth is delivering benefit not only for our businesses but for our communities, that it’s enhancing the visitor experience and at the same time we’re enhancing the environment that is at the core of our tourism product. It’s about sustainable industries. It’s about having business here for the long term. It’s about having the support of our communities.’ Roberts says it’s possible if the industry collaborates. ‘TIA is prepared to take some leadership in that area, but it requires all of us to work together.’ TIA has a number of initiatives for creating a better tourism landscape including rewriting its Tourism 2025 framework, and launching the New Zealand Sustainability Commitment. Over 300 companies have signed up so far and TIA aims to have 1000 signed up by the end of 2018.