The tourism industry is an integral part of Aotearoa New Zealand’s economy and society. It is a major employer and export earner, creator of commercial business opportunities, and a user of, and contributor to, our communities, environment and culture.
Evidence-based decision-making is needed to ensure a sustainable industry that generates wide benefits for Aotearoa and its people for the long-term.
The provision of comprehensive and accurate data and insights are an essential component of all industry decision-making processes, whether by central and local government, businesses, entrepreneurs and investors, tangata whenua, communities and interest groups, the media, researchers and academics, and others.
There are significant challenges in providing quality data to meet the needs of this diverse set of users. Traditional data collection methods are becoming increasingly impractical and while there are many new data sources that are held by both public and private sectors, these data can be difficult and expensive to assemble and use safely.
While quality tourism data and insights have been a longstanding matter of concern, the severe disruptions of the COVID-19 period have accelerated the need to change and evolve the tourism data system. The Tourism Data and Insights Co-Governance Group (the Group) is being set up as a result of the 2019 Tourism Information and Data Hui (the Hui).
The consensus among participants at this event was that moving towards a more collaborative and dynamic data system, focusing on delivering value, would better meet the needs of the tourism sector and Government.
As the steward of Government tourism data, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has recognised the need for a more inclusive approach to decision-making in the tourism data space. One of the next steps identified at the Hui was to establish a Co-Governance group to support the development of a fit-for-purpose tourism data system. Although the Hui predated the outbreak of COVID-19, the need for a strong data and information system for the tourism industry is more important than ever. The sector has been radically reconfigured by the absence of international tourists since March 2019, with little clarity on when they may return, from where and in what volumes. While the unprecedented suspension of international tourism has created a precarious environment for tourism businesses, there are opportunities for New Zealand tourism to reset.
A Co-Governance approach has been deemed the best format for New Zealand tourism operators to contribute to, shape, and benefit from a stronger data and information system. The ultimate aim being that the tourism sector is better placed to:
- measure progress towards a more sustainable operating model across environmental, economic, community, and regional dimensions; and
- greater understanding of domestic and international visitors.
MBIE has commissioned a report on options for a Co-Governance model (the PWC report). The PWC report recommended a model to both support the change in approach, embed collaboration in the sector, and shape the information and data system over the long term. The Draft Terms of Reference document has incorporated many of the key recommendations of that report.
In early 2021, MBIE established a temporary consultation group of key stakeholders (including Central Government, RTNZ, NZMT, and TIA) to advance the formation of the Group. This included developing and ratifying these Terms of Reference and recommending the initial membership and the independent chair. The shared aim was to facilitate the establishment of the Group by mid-2021.