Venture Taranaki, the agency tasked with growing Taranaki’s visitor industry, has welcomed the release of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy by Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis, stating it wants to work with government to make sure Taranaki beneficially leverages this growing sector.

VT Chief Executive Justine Gilliland said the Strategy sets out some key pathways for the sector, which delivers $412 million annually to Taranaki’s regional economy.

“Tourism has seen substantial growth in Taranaki, almost doubling in value over the last decade. This reflects investment into tourism infrastructure and business start-ups, as well as global attention in response to accolades like the 2017 Lonely Planet Best in Travel award,” Justine said.

Tourism is one of the four future pillars of the Tapuae Roa regional economic development strategy, and the alignment of the region and central government in recognising the sector’s potential is both timely and positive.
“Like other regions, we need to ensure that Taranaki is firmly on the map when it comes to international tourism. The Strategy proposes a consistent approach to tourism that could help deliver that.”

The Strategy presents a number of actions to help ensure that tourism supports thriving regions, spanning capability and capacity, data, and active destination management planning.

“Regional dispersal is key to Taranaki continuing to benefit from New Zealand’s desirability as a global visitor destination, and in delivering a positive visitor experience throughout the nation.”

“We know that high-profile destinations are feeling the pressure from strong growth, and that the regions offer a solution to this, but growth must be sustainable and beneficial to a region and its environment and communities. It is positive to see the Strategy recognising that any further growth must be based on sustainable foundations.”

Linked to this is the Strategy’s goal of improving the lives of New Zealanders, with actions spanning responsible camping, destination readiness, working more closely with tangata whenua, and strengthening employment pathways into the industry.

“Tourism presents our region with an opportunity to present a compelling and authentic visitor experience that leaves powerful memories of Taranaki’s landscape, legends and people, and benefits the communities, businesses and families right around the maunga.”

“The Strategy offers a pathway for our region and our visitor sector to partner with government to maximise that opportunity in an inclusive and sustainable way.”