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Tourism New Zealand announced as Gold Sponsor for Open Mindset event on sustainability transformation

Tourism New Zealand is a proud Gold Sponsor of Karryon’s second Open Mindset event, focused on a sustainability transformation within the travel industry. Karryon spoke to Andrew Waddel, General Manager Australia, about the tourism board's involvement and what it hopes attendees will come away with.

Tourism New Zealand is a proud Gold Sponsor of Karryon’s second Open Mindset event, focused on a sustainability transformation within the travel industry. Karryon spoke to Andrew Waddel, General Manager Australia, about the tourism board’s involvement and what it hopes attendees will come away with.

Why did Tourism New Zealand feel partnering with Karryon on this event was crucial?

Australian travel sellers are an important network and sector, as primary facilitators of travel and key advocates for destination storytelling. We saw the event as an opportunity to support and learn from the industry in-person, in a forum that is collaborative and inspirational. The added theme of Open Mindset and its focus on regenerative tourism are also embedded in much of the work the New Zealand travel industry is building.

How does Tourism New Zealand view its role in the travel industry’s sustainability transformation?

Our purpose is to Enrich Aotearoa and all who visit, and we do this by encouraging visitation that positively impacts the economy, nature, society and culture. Regenerative tourism is deeply rooted in Te ao Māori – the Māori worldview – and together with the New Zealand industry, we can support creating a regenerative tourism model that is future-focussed and ensures tourism gives back to the people and place more than it takes. 

Are you undertaking current initiatives or projects promoting advocacy and collaboration? Please share any examples.

We have several enduring activities within this space. First is the Tiaki Promise. This collaborative kaupapa (platform) – guided by organisations such as Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand, Department of Conservation, Regional Tourism New Zealand and more – was created through a collective desire to share a connection to the natural world, inspiring and helping visitors to travel safely and conscientiously. Across New Zealand, the tourism industry helps bring the Tiaki platform to life, working to encourage our visitors to form a deeper connection with place and to reflect this in how visitors travel through our home.

Another core initiative is our subsidiary, Qualmark, which assists the New Zealand tourism industry with delivering high-quality experiences and maintaining high visitor satisfaction. Qualmark works directly with members to support their operations and continues to evolve to meet the ever-changing tourism landscape. The recent inclusion of its Sustainable Tourism Business Criteria means members can be confident that achieving their Qualmark certification meets global standards of sustainability. 

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the travel industry in its sustainability transformation?

It’s important that, as an industry, we continue to monitor the advancements taking place in the sustainability space. Innovation and advancements are a continuous journey, and as sustainability becomes of increased importance to travellers, it will be a constant reminder to continue working together to stay ahead of the curve. 

What are the most significant opportunities for the travel industry in its journey towards sustainability and regeneration?

We are seeing international visitors becoming increasingly considerate of sustainability when planning their holiday destination and activities, and this prioritisation is likely to grow in the future.

Indigenous tourism and regenerative tourism are two sides of the same coin. There’s immense opportunity for the industry to listen, collaborate and learn from indigenous cultures on how tourism can work toward being a regenerative model. 

There is also an opportunity to lean into AI or tech advancements to make it easier for travellers to choose sustainable travel options and reducing frictions in the decision-making process. 

What are you hoping that attendees will take away from this event?

We would like the industry to leave with the tools to feel empowered and ambitious in propelling the Open Mindset philosophy forward in their work. We also hope that a sense of optimism and new knowledge will support them in their efforts to sell travel (and New Zealand!) in the future.

Tickets to Karryon’s Open Mindset event in Melbourne on Wednesday, 26 June, are on sale now. From each ticket sale, $10 will be donated to one of the Intrepid Foundation’s charity partners, Country Needs People. For more event details and to find out 5 good reasons to attend? Read more here.