Industry News

NZ tourism industry increases focus on sustainable growth

Sustainability – of our communities, our environment, our economy and our visitors – has been placed firmly at the heart of the New Zealand tourism industry’s updated growth framework, released at TRENZ 2019.

Tourism 2025 & Beyond – a Sustainable Growth Framework refreshes and refocuses the industry’s Tourism 2025 Growth Framework released in 2014.

Releasing it to an audience of international and New Zealand media at TRENZ, New Zealand’s largest annual tourism trade event, Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Chris Roberts said Tourism 2025 & Beyond addresses current issues but also looks beyond 2025 to focus on building an industry that continues to make a positive contribution to Aotearoa and New Zealanders in the long term.

“This Sustainable Growth Framework keeps our focus as an industry firmly on growing our value to individuals, communities, the environment, the economy and our visitors,” Mr Roberts says.

“The key change is that sustainability is now at the centre of Tourism 2025, providing a clear pathway towards a sustainable tourism industry for New Zealand. We have added Visitor, Community and Environmental goals and pushed our Economic ambition out to $50 billion a year in annual tourism revenue by 2025.”

The original Tourism 2025 goal was $41 billion in annual revenue by 2025. Progress towards the goal has exceeded all expectations, with tourism worth $39.1 billion in 2018.

Mr Roberts says the industry is increasingly recognising and adopting the Māori values of kaitiakitanga (guardianship), manaakitanga (hospitality) and whanaungatanga (working together).

These three foundation values have been incorporated into Tourism 2025 & Beyond, which sets out the industry’s vision for ‘Growing a sustainable tourism industry that benefits New Zealanders’. 

Tourism is New Zealand’s largest export earner, a significant employer and is continuing to drive economic growth, presenting both challenges and opportunities for New Zealand communities.

“Looking ahead, we are facing three key issues: managing the growth of tourism; improving management of our natural resources; and acting on carbon and climate change. Each of these needs to be factored into our thinking and actions,” Mr Roberts says.

“We have already started on this journey with the release 18 months ago of the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment, which more than 1000 tourism businesses have now signed up to. Then in November 2018, TIA and six other New Zealand organisations launched Tiaki – Care for New Zealand, an initiative that actively encourages international and domestic travellers to act as guardians of Aotearoa.”  

Tourism 2025 & Beyond now sets these initiatives within the industry’s overall strategic framework, he says.

“We have identified 10 priority action areas, from a long list of 68 actions for the tourism industry, central and local government to work on over the next three years to keep us on track to reach our Tourism 2025 & Beyond goals.

“We will succeed and maximise the huge benefits of tourism, while avoiding adverse impacts, by working together and having alignment of purpose. I fully anticipate this alignment to be reflected in the Government’s soon to be released Tourism Strategy 


About Tourism 2025 & Beyond – a Sustainable Growth Framework



Growing a sustainable tourism industry that benefits New Zealanders



Visitor – Deliver outstanding visitor experiences

Community – New Zealanders are welcoming hosts

Environment – Aotearoa is enhanced by tourism

Economic – Grow tourism’s contribution to New Zealand’s economy



Kaitiakitanga – Guardianship and protection of our natural, built and cultural resources   for the benefit of current and future generations

Manaakitanga – Showing respect, hospitality, generosity and care for others

Whanaungatanga – A sense of family and belonging: relationships build on shared experiences and working together


Top 10 Actions (note that numbering does not reflect priority)


  1. Embedding Sustainability

The New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment is the sustainability platform for the industry. It aims to be universal so all operators are contributing to overall tourism industry sustainability, and playing their part in preserving and enhancing Aotearoa New Zealand for future generations.


  1. Managing Destinations

Central to creating value in tourism is the nature and quality of the experience that visitors are prepared to pay for. Destinations are a collection of interests (including local government, iwi, communities and business), meaning that coordination and destination planning is needed to deliver the best outcomes both for host communities and visitors. All of New Zealand needs to be covered by Regional Destination Management Plans.


  1. Growing and Shaping Demand

It is imperative that government (via Tourism New Zealand), airlines, airports, regions and industry continue to invest in generating and growing visitor demand. New Zealand operates in a highly competitive global market and attracting high-value visitors requires investment in building a compelling destination New Zealand brand. This brand and subsequent investment in targeted marketing across a portfolio of markets is needed to grow and shape demand in ways that benefits New Zealand and encourages regional and seasonal dispersal.


  1. Embracing Tikanga Māori

Māori culture is a unique feature of New Zealand and it is important that all parts of the tourism industry appropriately incorporate elements of Tikanga Māori

within their operations.


  1. Living Tiaki

Having visitors who meet our behavioural and cultural expectations is central to maintaining the support of New Zealand communities for tourism. Tiaki – Care for

New Zealand was established by public and private sector agencies. The tourism industry has a role to play in letting visitors know what is expected of them and industry systems are needed to manage issues as they arise.


  1. Engaging the Community

The sentiments expressed through the Mood of the Nation Survey provide a clear message – tourism businesses must undertake genuine two-way engagement with their communities to grow mutual understanding of how they contribute to their place, creating a collective vision for tourism development that maintains the maanakitanga New Zealand is renowned for.


  1. Measuring and Managing Industry Carbon Use

Reducing carbon use will be a key industry priority. Carbon emissions and resultant climate change represent a risk for tourism that requires a systematic industry response.


  1. Investing in Infrastructure and Amenities

Tourism activities utilise a wide set of infrastructure, including roads, airports, waters systems, amenities and parking. Ensuring the quality and quantity of this infrastructure is central to achieving high value sustainable growth.


  1. Fostering Domestic Tourism

Domestic tourism activity amounts to almost 60% of total tourism expenditure in New Zealand. So it needs to be understood and managed well to ensure the best outcomes, including the encouragement of domestic tourism as part of dispersal and regional development strategies.


  1. Investing to Deliver Quality Tourism Data and Research

The industry requires a comprehensive set of trusted data with sufficient rigour and detail to support good decision-making. The industry also needs the capability to research a wide range of industry-good matters to support industry sustainability, value creation and innovation processes.


View the full Tourism2025 & Beyond framework.