Tourism Industry Aotearoa has paid tribute to outgoing Prime Minister John Key, saying he raised the profile of New Zealand’s biggest export sector across the Government.
Key shocked the nation with his resignation this week (Dec 5) and many believe his contribution to the tourism industry will be one of his greatest legacies.
The tourism industry was delighted when Key took over the tourism portfolio when he was elected as Prime Minister in 2008, TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says, acknowledging the huge job he went on to do.
“Key has succeeded in ensuring the importance of the tourism industry to New Zealand’s economy is recognised at the highest levels of government. He has also been a natural front person for New Zealand and this has presented some powerful opportunities to promote New Zealand overseas,” Roberts says.
“As the tourism industry has grown, we have been grateful for the Prime Minister’s support, most recently with the Government’s rapid action to help the recovery of Kaikoura’s tourism sector,” he says.
Over the years, Key has been very generous with his time, attending numerous TIA events, including the Tourism Summit Aotearoa, New Zealand Tourism Awards and New Zealand’s biggest tourism showcase, TRENZ.
“The industry has always deeply appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from Key about how his Government is supporting tourism. He has been ably assisted by Associate Tourism Ministers who were able to take on some of the detailed work that Key’s Prime Ministerial duties didn’t allow time for,” Roberts says.
“With some far-reaching discussions about tourism funding and infrastructure on the horizon, we look forward to Key’s successor as Tourism Minister continuing to be a senior Cabinet Minister who can place industry concerns in the context and priority they deserve.”