In Touch with Matt Doocey MP

Columns
Sunday, February 1, 2015

As schools around Waimakariri open their doors for another year, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the year ahead.

Hopefully, you have enjoyed taking time out to spend with family. While most people enjoy taking a break during this time, for many businesses, especially those that rely on tourism, it’s their busiest season.

New Zealand is lucky to have such diverse and unique natural features and it is understandable that these are a drawcard for international tourists. The latest tourism figures show us that more than twice as many people go walking or trekking than visit museums and galleries.

It’s rewarding that New Zealand was voted the top country in the 2014 Telegraph Travel Awards, for the third year in a row. With 97 per cent of international visitors saying they would be very or quite likely to recommend New Zealand, it’s easy to see why.

North Canterbury enjoys a sizeable portion of tourist spend, confirming itself as a destination of choice. Over the year to March 2014, international tourists spent $90 million and domestic tourists spent $220 million in our region. And that can only be good for our local businesses.

From humble backpackers’ facilities to our luxury resorts, tourists spending money boosts our regional economies.

On a national scale, tourism is our second biggest export earner -  and it is a major employer. That’s why the National-led Government has invested an unprecedented $600 million in tourism and tourism promotion since 2008.

This investment is paying off.

Approximately 2.8 million people visited New Zealand during the past year, spending over $7 billion. Tourism directly employs 4.7 per cent of the New Zealand workforce and indirectly employs another 3.6 per cent.

We need to keep promoting the Waimakariri as a destination of choice. Promoting the Waimakariri as a destination of choice will be a focus of mine over the next year. If you have any ideas on how we can do this, please make contact with me.