27 Aug 2020

Tourism Industry Aotearoa reveals plans to redouble sustainability efforts

7:49 pm on 27 August 2020

The tourism industry has unveiled plans to redouble its sustainability efforts in a refreshed commitment.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa, chief executive, Chris Roberts

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts. Photo: SUPPLIED - TIA

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) announced the updated sustainability commitment three years after it was launched.

More than 1400 tourism business have signed up since then.

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said it remained important to consider the future and be ambitious while working to get businesses and people through the Covid-19 crisis.

"Now more than ever, we need to act to become sustainable - as businesses, as an industry, as a country," Roberts said.

"Increasingly, our communities and visitors have expectations that our industry will act sustainably. We have made good progress in recent years and now is the time to redouble our efforts."

The original commitment outlined four areas of focus:

  • Economic: tourism delivering prosperity across the economy
  • Host Community: New Zealanders strongly supporting and reaping the benefit from tourism operating in their community
  • Visitor: tourism delivering world leading experiences to all visitors
  • Environment: tourism being recognised for its contribution to protecting, restoring and enhancing the country's natural environment and biodiversity.

There were eight goals supported by 14 business-led commitments.

That has been updated to 12 commitments with a refreshed look at the need for tourism to create opportunities, be resilient, embrace Aotearoa's culture and heritage, ensure New Zealanders understand and support tourism as well as benefit from it.

Other changes to commitments include replacing product and market development to encourage businesses to innovate to improve the visitor experience with a focus on culture and heritage, honing community commitments to focus on businesses becoming an employer of choice instead of goals to pay a fair wage and support their workforce to flourish.

The commitments also shift from recognising the industry.

Roberts said a commitment to sustainability meant not only driving excellent environmental practices, but also ensuring benefits to the community, visitors and New Zealand's economy.

"We are firmly of the view that sustainable businesses will be best placed to emerge strongly as and when the industry recovers," he said.

"The only way the industry as a whole can be sustainable is if all operators are sustainable themselves. It has to be a bottom-up approach."

Businesses didn't need to already meet all of the goals to get involved as the commitment outlined practical actions so they could play their part, Roberts said.

"Sustainability is a journey and the important thing is to get started and make progress. But we firmly believe that through our individual actions, collectively New Zealand can lead the world in sustainable tourism," he said.

"Never before have we looked so closely around us at what is truly important. The global pandemic has shown how quickly we can and need to adapt. When we think about our future, resilience and adaptation are absolutely what we need to consider."

The 12 Commitments for tourism businesses in the refreshed Tourism Sustainability Commitment are:


1. Resilience: We focus on long term business performance and resilience.

2. Investment: We invest to create value, opportunities and to drive sustainable practices.

3. Innovation: We innovate to solve problems, create new ways to do things and increase productivity.


4. Visitor Satisfaction: We strive to always meet or exceed visitor expectations.

5. Culture and Heritage: We embrace Aotearoa New Zealand's culture and heritage as part of delivering a unique and authentic visitor experience.

6. Visitor Engagement: We engage with visitors about how to be great travellers within Aotearoa New Zealand.


7. Employer of Choice: We attract, support and develop the workforce we need to flourish and succeed.

8. Community Engagement: We actively and positively engage with the communities in which we operate, taking a leadership role to champion causes that are important to the community.

9. Sustainable Supply Chains: We have socially and environmentally sustainable supply chains.


10. Restoring Nature: We contribute to protecting and enhancing Aotearoa New Zealand's environment, including water, biodiversity, landscapes and clean air.

11. Carbon Reduction: We act urgently to contribute to Aotearoa New Zealand's transition to a net zero carbon economy.

12. Eliminating Waste: We take responsibility for the entire life cycle of products and services we use and ultimately eliminate the waste associated with these.