2 Sep 2015

Operators look to culture-seeking tourists

10:23 am on 2 September 2015

Maori tourism operators say they are poised to take advantage of a worldwide trend of visitors wanting to have experiences and cultural activities, instead of looking at buildings and going shopping.

A Maori Tourism Trade Day was held in Auckland yesterday targeting in-bound tour operators.

Tourism New Zealand's latest campaign images.

Photo: Tourism New Zealand

Acting chair of the Maori Tourism Board, Dale Stephens said the relaunch of Tourism New Zealand's "100% Pure" campaign incorporated the Maori story.

"The type of activities that people can get involved in when they come to New Zealand is not just about getting on a bus and looking at our beautiful scenery, but it is actually getting out of the bus, meeting some people and getting involving themselves in fishing, nature walks that includes stories about the past from our tupuna and how the country developed, so these are the things that people are really engaging in now."

Mr Stephens said that while there is still a role for cultural performance to entertain tourists, the emphasis was more on getting involved and for tourists trying things for themselves.

"Very clearly that is an entertaining part of the experience, but it is more now a slice of life, slice of history and seeing how that is meshed in with our environment."

Mr Stephens said tourism operators in this country were targeting the baby-boom generation who have more disposable income and more time to spend in New Zealand.

He said it is estimated that the baby-boom generation worldwide is worth $2 trillion.

"We think between now and 2020 there is about $1.6 billion dollars that will be available that we will very much be geared up for to market to, to attract that money to New Zealand."

Mr Stephens said there was no conflict between what Maori tourism operator had on offer and that from other tourist ventures. In fact he saw it as complementary.

Mr Stephens said Maori tourism operations range from a two person business through to big operators like Ngai Tahu Tourism.

"The great thing about Maori is they are very keen to help each other, so Ngai Tahu Tourism have been sitting down with start-up businesses and giving them the best advice they can on how they can make their way in the industry."

Mr Stephens said Maori tourism was on a very steep growth path at the moment.

"The economy is in good shape. Worldwide there are people wanting to travel. The forecast for tourism in this country is very positive indeed," he said.