A proposed law to Mondayise Waitangi Day and Anzac Days when they fall on weekends will stimulate domestic tourism, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.
The Holidays Amendment Bill was drawn yesterday from the Private Members’ bill ballot and will go to select committee if it gets enough cross-party support.
“In the current tight economic environment, everyone needs a holiday, but it’s getting harder to take time off work,” says TIA Policy & Research Manager Simon Wallace. “More long weekends that give Kiwis a chance for short breaks is the ideal solution. It would also encourage regions to hold more events, which are also a great way of attracting visitors.”
TIA’s Tourism Future Statement The Visitor Economy: Creating Wealth released last year, called on the government to Mondayise Waitangi Day and Anzac Day when they fall on a weekend. Kiwis lost three public holidays in 2010 and 2011 when they fell on a Saturday or Sunday.
“TIA wrote the Tourism Future Statement after talking with more than 700 tourism operators around the country. Most saw Mondayising Anzac Day and Waitangi Days as an important way of motivating Kiwis to travel more in their own country,” says Mr Wallace.
“It would be a huge boost to domestic tourism which pours $36 million a day into communities across New Zealand. Domestic visitors are also the mainstay of many tourism businesses, contributing $13.2 billion of the tourism industry’s total annual $23 billion earnings and supporting hundreds of jobs.”
Larnach Castle General manager Andrew Husheer has welcomed the Private Members’ bill, saying Waitangi Day and Anzac Day come at a time of the year when it would be great to stimulate more domestic tourism.
“The importance of domestic visitors is crucial to the industry when other markets aren’t so strong. Larnach Castle enjoyed a 7% increase in domestic numbers over the summer school holidays as South Islanders chose to explore their own country. Kiwis are going back to more traditional family holidays. If we can give them more opportunities to travel on long weekends, it’s got to be good for the industry.”
TIA will now be lobbying all political parties to support Dunedin North MP David Clark’s Bill during its progress through Parliament.