Keynote Speech for Entertainment Venues Association of New Zealand (EVANZ)Arts, Culture and Heritage
Introduction – Importance of Arts, Culture and Heritage to NZ
Good morning. I am pleased that the Minister of Tourism, Hon Mark Burton, has given me the opportunity to deliver this speech on his behalf, because entertainment venues not only contribute significantly to this country’s tourism industry—they literally provide important stages for our arts and culture to be displayed.
As the Associate Minister for Arts and Culture, opportunities for our art and culture to be expressed are near and dear to my heart.
The government has done a lot of work in the arts, culture and heritage area over the past three years, because we believe the sector is important for three main reasons [Outline those reasons].
We inherited a sector in which some of our leading cultural institutions were in financial crisis.
In May 2000, we put in place the Cultural Recovery Package, to provide financial stability for our major arts institutions and organisations such as the NZSO, the Royal NZ Ballet, Te Papa; and also to enable arts agencies such as Creative New Zealand to do more work in professional arts development and regional development; and to enable the Historic Places Trust to do more work in cultural heritage preservation.
As a nation we now recognise the important place of arts and culture in our lives. There is a new spirit of optimism, confidence and energy. Key areas of the arts and cultural sector are reporting bigger audiences, greater ability to undertake new initiatives and more confidence in planning for the future.
The cultural sector is performing well in contributing to GDP and employment.
The results of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research report Creative Industries in New Zealand: Economic contribution commissioned by Industry New Zealand show that the creative sector is growing faster than the rest of the economy.
Thankfully we’re not alone in our commitment to the arts and to the cultural wellbeing of New Zealanders. Strategic partnerships are hugely important in the arts.
North Harbour Stadium
This Stadium is a great example of how strategic partnerships can produce a community asset that is vital both for sporting and entertainment events.
North Harbour Stadium has been the scene of many incredible sporting events. One example this year was the historic 1-0 win by the New Zealand soccer team over the Australians to win the Oceania Nations Cup and to qualify for the upcoming Confederations Cup 2003 in France.
The Football Kingz have also put in some good performances here, and I look forward to the day when they can emulate the New Zealand Warriors by dominating an Australian professional league.
At the same time, there have been many successful arts and cultural events here. There was the Classical Spectacular that opened the Stadium, and concerts by The Corrs, Cliff Richard and Olivia Newton-John. And Alan Smythe’s dazzling presentations of Bizet’s Carmen and Verdi’s La Traviata. It has filled an important gap in Auckland’s entertainment map.
Tourism – The effects of September 11th.
Until September of last year, when my colleague Mark Burton spoke with tourism audiences, he was able to be openly and unreservedly positive about New Zealand’s tourism industry. New Zealand’s performance and growth were impressive, numbers were headed towards an all-time high, and the industry’s potential seemed almost limitless.
Then, overnight, the events of September 11 changed that outlook completely. The world looked set to stay at home. Combined with the uncertainty surrounding the future of Air New Zealand, the immediate picture potentially looked pretty bleak.
At the time, some people were even predicting that the tourism markets might never fully recover. New Zealand certainly did suffer a downturn along with the rest of the world. In the last quarter of 2001, visitor arrivals were significantly down, and no one really knew what 2002 would bring.
It was an uncertain time throughout the sector. But a lot can happen in a year. By January, unlike most other global destinations, we were back onto a growth path.
Our visitor numbers and expenditure have remained positive throughout 2002; with only a small dip in the days running up to September 11, when it was inevitable that many travellers would be cautious about the first anniversary of those terrible events.
All in all, it’s an enviable position to be in, particularly when compared to our trans-Tasman neighbours.
Australian Tourism figures
In September, the annual Australia/New Zealand Tourism Ministers Council meeting was held in Auckland. Although New Zealand was reporting a very positive outlook, the Australian market still looks relatively grim.
Visitor arrivals to Australia are down nearly 10 percent for the year.
The events of September 11, combined with a weak global economy and the collapse of Ansett Australia, have cost Australia around $2 billion in inbound tourism income and up to 12,000 jobs.
In contrast, however, our story couldn’t be more different. In the first six months of 2002, international arrivals increased by almost 5%. Visitor days were up almost 14% and visitor expenditure was up almost 15%. Australia is beginning to look to New Zealand as an example of best practice.
I certainly don’t make these comparisons in order to gloat. On the contrary – there is no room for complacency or arrogance. But I do use them to illustrate, at least in part, the very tangible benefits of New Zealand being able to mobilise swift, well-coordinated crisis management.
New Zealand tourism sector – effective crisis management
In the period immediately following September 11, key tourism sector representatives worked tirelessly with the Government, under the co-ordination of Tourism New Zealand, to carefully promote New Zealand’s global reputation as a safe, friendly tourism destination.
This collaboration was also critical in ensuring that consistent, calm assessment of the emerging domestic and international situation was communicated.
Because we had already collectively worked together, particularly on the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010, we were able to employ an effective, efficient use of resources in a time of serious challenge.
Tourism Strategy 2010
Our recovery following September 11 is not the only area in which we have the jump on Australia. The Commonwealth government is currently in the process of developing a 10-year plan for the Australian tourism industry. Many of you will be aware of the progress that has been made in the implementation of our own Tourism Strategy 2010 since its launch in May last year.
One of the key principles underpinning the Strategy is that of public/private commitment. It was clearly recognised that there was a need to develop stronger and more effective partnerships between the public and private sector. In other words, we all need to work together to make this strategy work.
If all the tourism players work together, it will mean a more effective and efficient use of resources, and it will also drive a more co-ordinated approach to ensure that we achieve sustainability.
As such, it is important to re-iterate that the Strategy belongs to the entire tourism industry, of which you are all a crucial part. Its success relies on everyone in the tourism industry adopting aspects of the Strategy that are relevant to them. We all stand to benefit from a tourism industry that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable, and the Strategy provides us with a set of guidelines to help us achieve that.
The Government has already implemented a range of initiatives in response to the Strategy. You should all be aware by now of the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism, and of the funds granted to VIN and Qualmark so I won’t labour the point.
I note that later today you have a programmed session about Qualmark. This Government wants to see the continued provision of quality tourism product and wants tourists to have some way of knowing that they will be receiving a quality experience from New Zealand operators. We believe that Qualmark will assist us to achieve these aims.
It was this that led us to invest $2.5million over the next three years in upgrading the Qualmark product. I encourage you to talk with the people at Qualmark and to consider the advantages of participating.
Government’s Research Investment
It is vital that our tourism industry seeks to invest in its future growth through the development of knowledge and intelligence.
We set up the Tourism Research Council New Zealand two years ago, in partnership with industry, to provide credible, authoritative and integrated tourism research, information and forecasting.
Research is vital to the business of operators. The work of the Tourism Research Council is enabling the resources the Government commits to research to be tailored to meet the industry’s specific requirements - adding value to the core data collections, adding value to tourism operations, and ultimately adding value to the experience of each and every visitor to our country.
I encourage you to utilise the tourism core data-set to maximise your business and service performance.
Where is tourism in New Zealand going?
There is good news in the latest tourism forecast results released by the Tourism Research Council last month. The figures show that international visitor arrivals will increase by 6% per year to 2008. Even better news is that those visitors will stay longer and spend more.
In the domestic market, which is “the bread and butter” for a lot of tourism operators, we can look forward to steady growth of 22% in domestic spend by 2008. But it seems as though even greater rewards may be gained from the international market where we can expect expenditure to increase by 72% in the same timeframe.
Looking forward, the focus is now on developing a strategic plan so that we can tackle some of the weightier aspects of the Tourism Strategy.
We as a government are acutely aware that, in regards to the Strategy, not only does progress need to be made, it needs to be seen being made. With this in mind, my colleague, Pete Hodgson, has asked the Ministry of Tourism to demonstrate the progress being made in addressing the challenges laid down by the Strategy.
More than at any time in the recent past, the government’s tourism agencies, the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism New Zealand understand their role in the sector.
Each is committed to working together and with other stakeholders to add value to the sector. It is some time since we have been so well positioned.
Over the next three years, the government will work to ensure that we realise the potential of this productive environment to maximise the benefits to the sector.
I know infrastructure is a key issue that concerns you. More visitors means more demand – on our roads, on our environment, on our communities, on regional and local infrastructure.
These demands aren’t peculiar to the tourism industry. We’ve seen the same sorts of demands forecast by growth in the wood-processing sector.
In some cases, local authorities consider they are unable to develop and maintain infrastructure to support the demands of residents, local industries and visitors. We need an integrated approach and we’ll be working to develop a co-ordinated central government policy on regional infrastructure needs.
To begin with, we will take a good look at our current situation in order to identify very clearly what infrastructure we’ve got, what it costs to maintain and replace, who uses it, and what we need to meet our future economic development and population needs.
This has already begun in some regions through the Regional Partnerships Programme.
We all know that we have a lot going for us - a high-quality, diverse natural environment, the uniqueness of our indigenous Maori culture and our multicultural population, a vibrant, sophisticated New Zealand heritage, and the reputation of our friendly, warm people.
It is these attributes that our international visitors seek to interact with during their New Zealand experience. It is of paramount importance that these qualities are not compromised or allowed to degrade in any way as we continue to develop our industry.
While we are all impressed with the growth in international visitor arrivals, encouraging more visitors in peak season places greater pressure on our natural, built, cultural and social environment. Increasing visitor numbers is important, but it is just as important to encourage those visitors to visit at different times of the year, to stay longer, to spend more and to experience a wider range of products. I believe that this will be your biggest challenge over the next few years and I ask you to give consideration to how you can best meet it.
The Importance of Cultural Tourism
Cultural tourism is increasingly being recognised as playing an important role in the tourism and creative industries, as much as New Zealand’s obvious attractions of clean air, scenic beauty and adventure activities.
The New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010 specifically mentions cultural tourism, which it defines as “those cultural dimensions that enable more depth of interaction with, and understanding of, our people, place and cultural identity”.
The Strategy identifies cultural tourism as an area needing assistance to reach its potential.
The government has allocated $220,000 in the 2002-2003 year for new research into the development of cultural tourism, to investigate the demand for cultural tourism products and identify the gaps in supply of cultural tourism products and services.
Which brings me back to the beginning: I outlined to you the Government’s major investment in the cultural recovery of New Zealand’s arts, culture and heritage.
I want to tell you about one initiative that has sprung from the Cultural Recovery Package that has direct cultural tourism benefits.
With Cultural Recovery funds, Creative New Zealand set up several strategies for professional arts development – one was the Seriously Maori Strategy. Under this strategy, Creative New Zealand’s Maori Arts board Te Waka Toi developed the Toi Iho Maori Made Mark. It is a first step to protect the cultural and intellectual property of artists in New Zealand.
Assurances of authenticity and quality have been lacking in the tourism industry for many years; the Toi Iho Maori made mark provides this to New Zealanders and visitors from overseas.
The mark allows tourists and visitors to distinguish genuine products by the swing tags, labels and stickers. It has given local artists a greater incentive to produce high-quality works and command a premium price.
The first round of Toi Iho recipients was announced a few months ago. Art-forms that the successful applicants use include weaving, carving, jewellery, Ta Moko, music, graphic design, architecture and corporate embellishment, print-making and multimedia.
It’s exciting for Maori artists, and for Pakeha artists who work with Maori artists and designs. It’s exciting for visitors looking for a genuine New Zealand experience.
One more thing I’ll quickly mention is the website ESSNZ.com. This website brings together hundreds of New Zealand arts and cultural experiences and events that are happening during the Louis Vuitton and America’s Cup racing season. It’s just one of the outcomes of the Government’s leveraging funding, which Pete Hodgson has been at the helm of. If you have an event at your venue during this racing season, make sure it’s on that website: www.essnz.com
I have appreciated the opportunity to speak to you this morning and I wish you all a successful final day at this conference and every success in the future. Thank You