Since the launch of its Tourism Sustainability Commitment in 2017, TIA has been tracking progress for each of the TSC’s eight economic, host community, visitor and environmental goals. The 2019 assessment is based on a survey of 614 tourism businesses carried out for TIA by Angus & Associates along with various industry data sources.
The TSC has the ambitious vision of ‘leading the world in sustainable tourism.’ In 2019, the overall TSC sustainability rating was 8.2, up from 7.9 the previous year. This represents solid progress towards the goal of 9.5 by 2025.
TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says: “It’s great to see the industry tracking in the right direction. We are seeing a genuine commitment to economic, environmental and social sustainability. Being leaders in this space is how we will continue to attract high- value visitors.”
At the individual goal level, the ecological restoration goal had the highest gain over the past year, up 6 points on 2018, with 69% of tourism businesses surveyed now actively supporting and championing ecological restoration initiatives.
Visitor-focused goals continued to be where tourism operators were performing best, with 97% of international and domestic visitors having their expectations met or exceeded, already surpassing the 2025 goal of 96%.
Gains were achieved towards the goal of businesses measuring, managing and minimising their environmental footprint, increasing by 2% to 78% of respondents reporting that they are actively working to reduce their footprint.
“There is still a way to go to reach the ambitious 100% target for this goal, but things are moving the right way,” says Mr Roberts.
Host community satisfaction with tourism, as measured by the Mood of the Nation survey, was the only goal that slipped back slightly from the previous year – down by 1% to 81% of ‘New Zealanders who are happy with the level of tourism activity and support growth’.
Roberts says TIA is already focusing on improving community satisfaction in 2020 through its Tourism Story project, which aims to positively influence the discourse on tourism, widening support among New Zealand communities and helping to maintain the industry's social licence.