15 MAY 2017
OUTDOORS PARTY CALLS FOR QUALITY NOT QUANTITY TOURISM
The recent Government announcement of $102M, of which $60M is new money, for funding regional tourism infrastructure and the $67M for a new Great Walk are welcomed but completely miss the point according to the NZ Outdoors Party. “Labour’s tourism tax proposal is another positive note but the fundamental issue here is not money but the anticipated sheer volume of tourists overwhelming our treasured back country” Said David Haynes, NZ Outdoors Party Co-Leader.
“Whilst tourist numbers have increased over 40% in the last ten years, spend per tourist has fallen 24% in real terms. Add this to the fact that the total Department of Conservation budget per tourist has also fallen 50%, allowing for inflation, and we have all the making of another commodity industry – this is milk powder economics all over again”.
“The focus on solely growing quantity of tourists without long-term structural vision risks that we will do to our precious public land what we have done to our lowland rivers – make short-term financial gains and long-term destruction. Our public estate is taonga and the reality of Kiwis being displaced from Great Walks and premium trout fisheries by too many tourists will not be addressed by taxes alone.” Said Haynes.
The Outdoors Party is proposing a lottery system for tourism, as successfully implemented in USA National Parks such as Yosemite and Sequoia and for rafting the Colorado River. “The Milford Track is effectively a lottery system so there is no reason we cannot extend this across our treasured estate to control numbers and hence retain the wilderness experience Kiwis and tourists alike want.”
“This approach, combined with local Council by-laws clamping down on non-self contained freedom campers’ vehicles, can elevate tourism from a volume commodity to a high value public asset. The New Zealand outdoors is a supreme global treasure and here’s our chance to do things differently and better by focussing on quality not quantity.”