Michael Shah, Northern Club; Megan Singleton, Skal  Auckland president; Christopher Luxon, Leader of the Opposition Michael Shah, Northern Club; Megan Singleton, Skal Auckland president; Christopher Luxon, Leader of the Opposition

Luxon urges industry to think more strategically, control its own future

The travel and tourism sectors have been urged by Leader of the Opposition, Chris Luxon to take the future into their own hands and then work with the government of the day to enable those plans.

Speaking at the Skal Auckland Club lunch at the Northern Club on Thursday, Luxon said it was time to for the industry to think more strategically than it had in the past.

He says too many people are now waiting on the government for direction and the tourism, hospitality and travel sectors should be looking to transcend that.

‘It’s important to write the whole sector growth strategy yourself, rathe than being restricted to thinking tactically. Then government can come in to enable those plans – but it is a strategy owned by the sector.’

Luxon says National is committed to supporting tourism and helping it get back on its feet.

‘I don’t see this so much as a rebuilding of tourism – more a restart for it. New Zealand needs to be top of mind again for business and leisure travellers.

‘We also need our own people to connect with the world again and we need a policy setting (for travel, working holidays and immigration) at least in line with other countries if not better.’

In answer to questions from the floor, Luxon did not rule out becoming Tourism Minister if elected to Government.

‘I am interested,’ said the former CEO of Air New Zealand, ‘but we will have to wait and see. But tourism is a high priority and we know it doesn’t work to have the portfolio bouncing around the lower levels of Cabinet.’

With tongue in cheek, he reminded the audience that National needs more MPs after its dismal election result in 2020. ‘So if any of you have an interest in becoming a National MP, let me know.’

He also did not dismiss the idea of re-establishing a Ministry of Tourism.

‘I am hugely open to the idea of a Ministry of Tourism. Watch this space.’

Thursday’s Skal event attracted some 70 people, from travel retail and wholesale, hotels, airlines, outbound operators and the inbound sector.

To see photos from the event click here.

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