Māori culture a priority in new tourism strategy

By Talisa Kupenga

The $80mil forecast to come from the international tourist tax will be split 50/50 between tourism and conservation.  The announcement came at the release of a new draft government strategy to handle tourist numbers while protecting the environment.

A booming tourism industry has prompted government to pursue a more hands-on approach.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis says "We want sustainable tourism so communities and all regions around the country can benefit, so everyone benefits."

Key priority areas include the impacts of climate change, encouraging responsible camping and supporting the development of authentic Māori visitor experiences.

The National Party’s Māori tourism spokesperson Harete Hipango says, "We know there's been concerns around the intellectual property component and the copywriting and the trademarking that goes with that."

Davis says, “We can't just go selling plastic culture to visitors- it just won't float."

Tourist numbers have increased by one million in five years, putting pressure on infrastructure in some communities.

In the year ending June 3.8 million tourists visited Aotearoa and Davis expects the number to grow to 5.1 million in the next five years.

He says, "This strategy will help us with the arrivals to prevent them from having a harmful impact."

The public consultation round for the draft strategy ends February 4.