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I would like to begin by thanking each and every one of you here today. You play a hugely important role in the tourism system in Aotearoa. Without all of you creating authentic, high quality visitor experiences, tours and packages across the country, we wouldn’t have the visitor economy we enjoy today.

Our plan is to make sure the benefits of tourism are realised for our country and our people, while managing the impacts. Today I’m very pleased to announce the latest part of that plan. The Government will be investing nearly $12 million in co-funding from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund to help 25 councils around New Zealand make the most out of the opportunities tourism can bring.

The Year of Tourism is an important opportunity to showcase the depth of our people-to-people connections. It’s a time to reflect on our relationship, share in each other’s culture through travel and look to the future, strengthening our already deep ties.

I’m proud to be here today announcing the Government’s investment, through the Provincial Growth Fund, in two key Whangarei tourism projects.

It is my pleasure to be here with you all this morning, at the inaugural Tourism Policy School conference. It’s fantastic to see the University of Otago assemble such a distinguished audience from across the tourism sector.

I am delighted to officially open the 63rd New Zealand Motor Caravan Association National Rally and Annual General Meeting.

I’m proud to be standing here today, as both Tourism Minister and Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau, to announce the Government’s investment, through the Provincial Growth Fund, in these key Far North projects.

Welcome and thank you all for coming here this morning. I would like to acknowledge Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage, and give my thanks for the work that the Department of Conservation is doing with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in regards to the tourism sector.

Ni Men Hao. Good evening everyone.

I would like to thank Kerry Prendergast and Stephen England-Hall, and the team at Tourism New Zealand for organising this great event tonight.

As a Government we need to find a way to provide sustainable funding to invest in both our Tourism Infrastructure and our Conservation estate. We don’t believe that the financial burden should rest purely on the shoulders of New Zealanders. Today I am launching a discussion document on an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy.

Tourism is an economic bedrock. It’s our biggest export earner, employs hundreds of thousands of people, and the industry is the world’s window into our beautiful country.

I am honoured to be here today to formally close the World Indigenous Tourism Summit, an event which I believe is vital to strengthening indigenous tourism across the globe.

It is great to be here in Queenstown, New Zealand’s iconic visitor destination.

Thank you Simon. I’d like to thank Grant, Chris and the rest of the TIA team for organising this event and inviting me to speak to you today.