Seven key tourism businesses and government agencies have launched an initiative, Tiaki – Care for New Zealand, to encourage international and domestic travellers to act as guardians of this country.
At a function in Wellington today the initiative was described as aiming for Kiwis and visitors alike to experience New Zealand in a way that keeps everyone safe, protects the environment, and respects the country's culture for future generations.
The group is comprised of Air New Zealand, the Department of Conservation, Local Government New Zealand, New Zealand Māori Tourism, Tourism Holdings, Tourism Industry Aotearoa and Tourism New Zealand.
The number of visitors coming to New Zealand has soared in the past five years to 3.8 million annually, leading to concern about the pressure on the environment in some places.
Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the surge in tourism during the past five years was ''an incredible opportunity for our country but it's important we take responsibility as an industry for managing this growth and protecting the things that make New Zealand so special".
A range of Tiaki Promise materials will be provided free to New Zealand tourism organisations, including a brochure and supporting video. The resources will initially be available in English, Te Reo Māori, German and Chinese, with more languages to follow.
The Tiaki Promise will be promoted through sites, newzealand.com as well as www.tiakinewzealand.co.nz, and on Air New Zealand's international services.
Tiaki Promise videos feature shots of different parts of New Zealand and its people and urges tourists to tread lightly, leave no trace, respect culture and ''travel with an open mind''.
It will also be made available to other international airlines to New Zealand.
Government agency Tourism NZ spent $115,000 on the project – mainly covering making the video that the tourism industry can use.
New Zealand Māori Tourism chief executive Pania Tyson-Nathan said that as tangata whenua we had an important role and responsibility to lead the way in respecting and protecting New Zealand's land, environment, and culture for future generations.
"As citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori and non-Māori alike, it is our collective duty to look after Papatūānuku.''
Tourism Holdings chief executive Grant Webster said tourism operators needed to create sustainable tourism experiences.
"New Zealand is a touring country and we all know that driver safety is one area where we need constant education in addition to rules and regulations. Generally, travellers want to do the right thing; we need to explain what travelling responsibly means here in New Zealand.''
Department of Conservation director-general Lou Sanson said the country's stunning landscapes were home to many vulnerable species found nowhere else on earth – so it was vital to ''educate and excite'' on how best to enjoy them.
"We are fortunate that most people who live here or visit us care about nature and our environment. Tiaki makes it easier for all of us to do the right thing in the outdoors – an essential part of protecting our natural and cultural heritage as visitor numbers continue to grow."