• Murray McCully

Te Putanga MaiMaori Tourism Conference and Trade Show Opening
tena koutou katoa.

thank you for your warm welcome.

i'm pleased to be here.

it is no secret that i eagerly sought the tourism portfolio - and why not.

tourism is a positive, exciting growth industry. it is new zealands largest foreign exchange earner - the new zealand tourism board calculates that tourism currently earns about $4.8 billion in foreign exchange each year and its target is to reach $9 billion by the year 2000 and because of the nature of tourism - because it is labour intensive and because it relies so heavily on regional product - those foreign exchange earnings benefit all communities who invest in tourism.

one of the most important benefits of tourism is that it provides jobs.

tourism is a big employer - the new zealand tourism board attributes a total of 130,000 full-time jobs directly to tourism.

and the industry is predicting tourism will create an additional 70,000 new jobs by the year 2000.

the aotearoa maori tourism federation estimates there are at least 28,000 maori employed part-time and full-time in tourism, in new zealand.

on the basis of these figures, maori already have a substantial stake in our country's tourism industry.

with these figures in mind, any further growth in tourism will have a significant effect on maori tourism product.

the tourism board and the industry have, over the past six years, got some serious runs on the board with a 42 percent growth in visitor arrivals since the establishment of the new zealand tourism board.

our international arrivals are growing at roughly twice the world average.

over the next five years we will have the opportunity of a lifetime to profile new zealand on the international stage.

the hosting of the americas cup, the proximity of the sydney olympics, the special significance of the millenium celebrations, given our place in the international time zone, and the hosting of a number of key international events in this country, provide us with promotional opportunities which we will not see again for decades.

we must not take a business as usual approach to such outstanding opportunities.

i will be working, both as minister of tourism and minister of sport to ensure that the efforts we invest match the opportunity we enjoy.

the coalition agreement plots the course of this government over the next 3 years, and its my responsiblity to see the principles of the agreement - as they relate to tourism are put into action.

the coalition agreement recognises the significance of tourism for the regions.

it recognises that there needs to be an increased role for maori tourism.

the agreement highlights the goal of having the new zealand tourism board "appropriately resourced", having regard to "the massive potential of the industry to deliver business and job opportunities for maori and in the regions".

in short, tourism will play a major part in our aspirations for economic growth and employment growth going into the next century.

it is because every one of the 28,000 maori with tourism jobs are stakeholders in this industry that the organisers have asked me, on the occasion of the opening of the trade show segment of this conference, to stress the benefits to tourism of a quality maori tourism product.

matching quality product with visitor expectations is critical to the success of not only maori ventures but all tourism businesses.

it is my intention, to ensure that the nztb recognises the coalition principles as a priority.

i have made it clear to the board that this year i will be looking to purchase significantly better outcomes in our traditional markets of north america, central europe, uk/nordic and australia.

a properly balanced, healthy, profitable industry will require a better performance in our traditional markets in addition to some of the spectacular results we have seen in emerging markets.

and improving performance in our traditional markets will be the key to delivering the benefits of tourism growth into the regions, and to benefit maori.

i met with the executive of the aoteoroa maori tourism federation last week.

i believe that what the federation offers is a mainstream element in the overall profile of new zealand tourism.

your federation has an important role to play in both long term policy and strategic marketing.

i welcome that role.

in those areas it is my intention to attempt to formalise to a greater degree the relationships you have both with the new zealand tourism board, and the tourism policy group, as a basis for developing a clearer view of what we are trying to achieve, and of what our strategies need to be.

i congratulate the federation for having the foresight to organise the first ever maori tourism trade show last year, and for its initiative in continuing the momentum with a further conference and trade show this year.

in opening the trade show segment of this year's aotearoa maori tourism federation conference, i wish you well and i look forward to hearing the outcome of the proceedings and especially the ways in which you plan to work together to ensure we all benefit from quality maori tourism product.