Letter from the co-chairs of the Taskforce
The following letter from the Taskforce co-chairs acknowledges that the report focusses on aspirations for the future, and highlights what the Taskforce think needs to be done to make real change for a better and sustainable tourism future. It also notes that the pandemic has evolved differently from when the report was commissioned. While the report was intended to be interim, the co-chairs and the Minister now see the Taskforce’s work as a contribution to the government and industry partnership in achieving a regenerative and sustainable tourism sector.
Tēnā koutou katoa,
In June 2020, we were approached by the then Minister of Tourism to serve as co-Chairs for the independent New Zealand Tourism Futures Taskforce. At this time the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) had essentially eliminated visitor movement and tourism spend in Aotearoa-New Zealand and the tourism industry was one of the sectors in the economy hit hardest. This continues today.
Our report is a future-focused document that looks to highlight what we think needs to be done to make real change for a better and sustainable tourism future. As this was our mandate and our mahi did not focus on the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector today. We delivered an interim report for the Ministers as expected in December 2020.
As an interim report the focus was on setting a Vision and looking at the core system requirements to enable a new future for Tourism. The final report had intended to provide definition of the goals and impacts of these system changes along with a more detailed assessment of the linkages with other areas of the economy and mahi, for example, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment report “Not 100% - but four steps closer to sustainable tourism” and the Climate Commission report. There remains an opportunity for this work to be completed.
We are now nearly in April 2021. The impact of COVID-19 in both Aotearoa-New Zealand and across the globe continues to present daily challenges to so many people, which includes the livelihood of operators in the tourism sector – a sector that as co-Chairs we both passionately wish only the very best for. Because of COVID-19’s devastating impact, the current outlook for the tourism sector is worse than previously anticipated in mid-2020 when this work was commissioned. This has meant that whilst looking to the future has enabled us to present to you a report that promotes a better visitor economy, the current situation has meant that we may need to pause and work with government to address the issues the sector faces today.
It’s important now, more so than ever before, that the government and the tourism sector works together. With local community and visitor wellbeing at its centre, we need to help each other to not only get through the immediate crisis, but to set the tourism sector on the pathway to reaching our desired vision and readiness to be truly regenerative and sustainable.
We look forward to working with the new Ministers involved with this Taskforce, the rest of government and industry in establishing the bridge between today and this future, determining how we connect Aotearoa.
Ngā mihi nui
The co-chairs of the Tourism Futures Taskforce