Tourism is important to Aotearoa, but it’s been hit hard by COVID-19. Our clean, green image and spectacular nature is what draws people to visit. We need to live up to that image and protect those landscapes.
The tourism industry can be productive, sustainable and inclusive. Encouraging local holidays in Aotearoa is more important than ever.
Now is the time for the Government to work with communities, iwi, hapū, and businesses to create jobs that will prepare the tourism sector for a strong recovery. Small councils cannot be expected to shoulder all the costs of infrastructure and facilities to support tourism.
In Government, the Green Party set up the International Visitor Levy to provide sustainable funding for tourism upgrades in the regions, and to invest in protecting the natural wonders that draw people to Aotearoa. With COVID-19, the focus needs to shift to domestic tourism, to give everyone the opportunity to connect with nature, explore their own backyard, and support local businesses through a challenging time.
The work we do now needs to ensure that when international tourists return to Aotearoa, we can live up to our 100% Pure New Zealand brand.
The Green Party will:
- Welcome back international tourists when appropriate, but with very strong health controls at the border.
- Encourage domestic tourism, to revitalise the sector and reduce the climate impact of international air travel.
- Create jobs upgrading walking tracks, huts, and other popular tourism infrastructure.
- Invest in regional rail and safe cycling so tourists can explore the country using low-carbon transport.
- Limit visitor numbers at popular sites to protect them and the visitor experience, and minimise the impacts of tourism on conservation land.
- Work with councils to address waste issues – including plastic water bottles.
- Encourage low impact recreation and ecotourism over high-carbon tourism.
- Institute stronger controls on vehicle camping and encourage visitors to use local accommodation providers.
- Review the New Zealand-Aotearoa Tourism Strategy in light of COVID-19, and strengthen its commitment to sustainability and protecting areas for local communities to enjoy.