Tourism businesses that have shown to be "committed to taking action on sustainability" will be identified to international delegates at this year's international travel and trade event TRENZ held in Rotorua.

New Zealand's $39 billion tourism industry became slightly more sustainable in
2018 compared to the previous year, according to a performance dashboard
produced by Tourism Industry Aotearoa.

Based on existing data and a survey of tourism businesses carried out for TIA by
Angus & Associates, the dashboard measures the industry's first year of
performance since the launch of the Tourism Sustainability Commitment in
November 2017.

It tracks progress against the TSC's eight economic, host community, visitor and environmental sustainability goals.

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The TSC has the ambitious vision of New Zealand leading the world in sustainable tourism by 2025.

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said while it was early days, it was pleasing to see a small 0.1 lift in the industry's overall sustainability rating in 2018 to 8.1, tracking in the right direction to achieve the 2025 goal of 9.4.

"Positively, those businesses which have signed up to the TSC achieved a significantly higher sustainability score than non-TSC businesses, 8.4 compared to 7.9."

Roberts said the annual dashboard was a long-term tracking mechanism and TIA would be looking closely at trends over time.

He noted the 2018 results were mixed across the eight industry sustainability
goals.

"On the plus side, we saw a strong improvement in industry revenue in 2018. And when it comes to delivering a fantastic visitor experience, we have already exceeded the 2025 target, with over 95 per cent of international and domestic visitors having their expectations of a New Zealand holiday met or exceeded."

There was one area of significant decline, a 7 per cent decrease in the industry's
success in measuring, managing and minimising its environmental footprint, which included carbon reduction and waste management.

"While there is no obvious reason for this drop in performance, it could be that
businesses are now more conscious of what is required to meet this goal than when they were first surveyed in 2017," Roberts said.

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"There is some great work going on in the industry to reduce carbon emissions
and minimise waste, however this can be a challenging area for the many small
and medium-sized businesses that make up our tourism industry."

Roberts said the TSC was continuing to gain traction with tourism businesses
and government agencies.

Almost 800 businesses have now committed to the TSC.

"We recently saw the Department of Conservation say it will recommend that
people undertake activities and tours with companies that have signed up to the
TSC.

"Tiaki – Care for New Zealand is another important industry and government sustainability initiative. It is encouraging all visitors to experience Aotearoa in a way that keeps everyone safe, protects our environment, respects our culture and protects the country for future generations."

TRENZ, New Zealand's biggest international travel and trade event is on in Rotorua in May.

"TIA will be clearly identifying the New Zealand tourism businesses and organisations that have signed up to the TSC so the 300-plus international delegates can see who has committed to taking action on sustainability," Roberts said.