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New Zealand’s new tourism minister has spelled out his goal to target the global 1% as visitors in the post-pandemic market, rather than vans of backpackers who “pull over to the side of the road and shit in our waterways”.
Stuart Nash, who was handed the tourism job in Jacinda Ardern’s post-election reshuffle, told Radio NZ he would ban leasing of vans to tourists other than those that are self-contained.
“If you’re willing to pay for a campervan at least you have the ability to dispose of your excrement in a way that meets our sustainability goals, and quite frankly our brand,” Nash said.
In an address to the Tourism Industry Aotearoa Conference in Wellington, the Napier MP said the Covid-enforced downturn would allow for a pivot of the government’s marketing efforts towards “high-net-worth individuals”.
“We haven’t got tourists here at the moment. So we have an opportunity to redefine our global value proposition and market to those who add significant value to our country,” he said.
“I’m not saying we close the borders to those who don’t have a million dollars in their bank account … they will come, and we’re not saying ‘don’t come’.
“What I’m saying is, all our marketing effort will go into high-net worth individuals who are looking for a piece of paradise at the moment as they sit in lockdown in New York or London or Berlin or Paris.
“They’re looking across and seeing us have 30,000 people without masks at a rugby game and saying ‘I want a piece of that’.”
The ideal tourist was named up as someone who flies “business class or premium economy, hires a helicopter around Franz Josef [Glacier on the South Island’s west coast] and eats at a top-end restaurant”.
“My ambition is that once lockdown is over and there’s a free flow of travellers across the world that we are in the top three destinations globally … not in terms of numbers but aspiration.”
Nash also foreshadowed extra costs being met by visitors.
“It is essential that the full cost of tourism is priced into the visitor experience,” he said.
“To the question of ‘who pays’, the answer is not ‘ratepayers and taxpayers in small New Zealand communities’.”
The 53-year-old, who was a tough-talking police minister during Ardern’s first term, backed the long-running “100 Per Cent Pure New Zealand” campaign, which highlights the country’s natural beauty, as “absolutely brilliant”.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: New Zealand tourism looks past backpackers in favour of ‘high-net-worth individuals’ | World news