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12 February 2019, Pressing issues focus of inaugural Tourism Policy School

The Commerce building

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Professor James Higham (2019)
Professor James Higham.

The impact, value and sustainability of tourism is the focus of the inaugural tourism policy school, in Queenstown, next month.

Convened by the University’s Department of Tourism, Tourism and Sustainability – Volume vs Value, runs over two days and boasts an international line-up of panellists and guest speakers.

University of Otago Department of Tourism Professor James Higham says the Policy School is an opportunity to bring together expertise from government, industry, business and academia to discuss and debate the challenges facing the tourism industry.

“We are in a period of sustained growth. It’s predicted that 5 million international tourists will visit New Zealand by 2023. There are questions around cost and benefit of tourism that need to be asked, and we need to further build our efforts to move beyond numbers of visitors as the key measure of industry success.

“Hopefully this will be beneficial and helpful for policy-makers, tourism businesses and local governments that are responding to the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly evolving global tourism industry,” Professor Higham says.

The event starts with a public lecture by Switzerland Tourism head of markets Urs Eberhart on Thursday 7 March. The Tourism Policy School will be opened by Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis, and is a full day event on 8 March.

Twenty speakers are confirmed for the event, including Helen Marano (World Travel and Tourism Council), Professor Stefan Gössling (Lund University), DOC director general Lou Sanson, Bruce Bassett (Tourism Industry Aotearoa), Judy Chen (CEO, Tourism Export Council New Zealand) and American journalist and author of Overbooked, the Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism. (Please see for the full programme.)

The presentations will inform three panel discussions that will address:

  • New Zealand and global tourism: the issues
  • Environmental sustainability: challenges and opportunities
  • Managing growth: opportunities for disruption

Holding the event in Queenstown is significant.

“Queenstown is facing its own unique issues of sustained high tourism growth, infrastructure and capacity constraints, social and environmental impacts and social licence. It is certainly starting to strain and creak under the pressures of constant growth in visitor arrivals.”

Fifty people will attend the policy school, which Professor Higham hopes will become an annual event.

For further information, contact:

Lea Jones
Communications Adviser, Otago Business School
Tel +64 3 479 4969
Mob +64 21 279 4969

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