Auckland’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry must be given a higher priority in council plans for the city’s future, according to the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA).
In its submission to the Draft Auckland Plan, TIA says the final version of the Plan should be strongly aligned to the Visitor Plan developed by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).
Auckland is New Zealand’s main gateway for international visitors and a major tourism destination in its own right. Tourism pours about $10.7 million a day into Auckland’s economy ($3.9 billion a year).
“Given the value of the visitor economy to the city and region, it should be given a higher profile in the final version of the Auckland Plan,” TIA Policy Manager Simon Wallace says.
“A strong Auckland with quality visitor infrastructure and services, efficient public transport and a vibrant centre are all critical to the experience of the 70% of international visitors who arrive or depart through Auckland.”
The needs of the tourism industry should be considered in Auckland Council’s plans for the city’s economy, infrastructure and transport. A higher profile for the visitor economy would be consistent with Mayor Len Brown’s aspirations for Auckland to become a world class city where visitors are a key driver of economic growth, Mr Wallace says.
The Auckland Plan should give priority to supporting the construction of a national convention centre in Auckland and improving cruise ship port facilities, he says. TIA has highlighted both projects as key priorities for the incoming government’s action in its Tourism Future Statement 2011-14 www.tianz.org.nz/nztourismfuture
It’s been estimated a national convention centre will boost New Zealand’s economy by $90 million a year, and enable the visitor industry to target a whole new market that can’t be accommodated by existing conference facilities.
“SKYCITY is leading the way in working with government to develop a national convention centre and we are encouraging Auckland Council to strongly support this project.”
Cruising is one of the fastest growing sectors of the visitor industry, seasonally worth more than $3 million a day in foreign exchange earnings. But to support its growth the development of a world class port facility in Auckland is critical, Mr Wallace says.
“Local infrastructure is also important and TIA supports the improvements to road and passenger networks signalled in the Draft Auckland Plan. The Association also supports council initiatives that will lead to improvements in public recycling, toilets and signage.”
In particular, transport links between the city and Auckland Airport need to be urgently upgraded, he says.
“The airport itself is performing exceptionally well by international standards but it is let down by the lack of an efficient public transport link to the CBD. While a dedicated rail corridor is planned, it is not scheduled to be completed until 2031 at the earliest. This must happen earlier if Auckland is to flourish as a hub for aviation in the Asia-Pacific region.”
To read TIA’s submission to the Auckland Plan, go to www.tianz.org.nz/main/policy-issues