Lockwood Smith Welcomes Appointment As Tourism Minister

  • Lockwood Smith

Newly appointed Tourism Minister Lockwood Smith says he is honoured to have the opportunity to represent New Zealand in one of its most important industries.

"There are obvious synergies between my new responsibilities and my work as Trade Minister. I'm tremendously proud of what New Zealand has to offer international markets, and I already take every opportunity to promote New Zealand as a tourist destination," said Dr Smith from Saudi Arabia.

"Tourism is hugely important to New Zealand. In the year to June 1998 tourism was New Zealand's biggest foreign exchange earner. The industry generated $4.4 billion in foreign exchange, and supported approximately 75,000 jobs.

"I'm honoured that the Prime Minister has asked me to accept responsibility for promoting New Zealand as a tourism destination, and I look forward to working with the Tourism Board and the tourism industry to ensure that we maximise the opportunities for New Zealand over the next couple of years and beyond," said Dr Smith.

Dr Smith is currently visiting the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to reinforce New Zealand's strong trade, tourism and investment relationships in the region, and will go on to Washington DC to state New Zealand's strong opposition to the recent US International Trade Commission's recommendations to restrict lamb imports from New Zealand and Australia.

Dr Smith returns to New Zealand on Monday, 3 May.