The Tasman District’s economy will be harmed if the council withdraws funding for Nelson Tasman Tourism, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.
Visitors spend almost $500,000 every day in the Tasman District – at least $181 million a year. This spending is spread across many sectors, including accommodation, retail, restaurants and cafes, petrol stations and supermarkets.
More than 3000 people are employed in tourism-related jobs across the Nelson Tasman region.
These returns far outweigh the investment the council makes in marketing the region to visitors via Nelson Tasman Tourism, TIA Policy and Research Manager Simon Wallace told the council at a workshop today.
“Tourism is a hugely important contributor to the economic wealth of the Tasman District. But there is no guarantee that visitors will continue to come in their current numbers if Nelson Tasman Tourism’s marketing efforts are diminished,” Mr Wallace says.
Individual tourism businesses market their own operations but Nelson Tasman Tourism provides overall regional marketing that will be lost if council funding is cut, he says.
Where regional tourism organisations like Nelson Tasman Tourism have been downsized or closed down, there have been negative impacts on the local industry, while strong RTOs make a measurable difference to visitor numbers, Mr Wallace says.
He notes that Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne has recently returned from China where he found strong potential for exports from his region.
“Chinese visitors are New Zealand’s fastest growing visitor market and they too can earn significant foreign exchange for the Tasman region. Not only that, they can be ambassadors for the region’s produce and attractions when they return home. The Tasman District should not ignore their potential,” Mr Wallace says.