New Zealand's tourism market research capabilities lack investment and modernisation, says TIA.

Government intervention and investment must be applied to improve the quality and availability of specific tourism industry data and market research as an election priority, Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) has said.

The association has issued a plea to whichever party wins the upcoming New Zealand national election that a fundamental review into the tourism data and research system must be performed as part of its recently submitted ‘Tourism Election 2020 Action Plan’.

Further evidence has been outlined detailing the shortcomings in the current framework, with papers submitted to major political parties by TIA highlighting a lack of structure, system and funding dedicated to the research needs of tourism. The paper says that with no dedicated apparatus in place for market study, there is no capacity for setting priorities, building research consortia and commencing detailed research programs. The problem has been further exacerbated over time as growth-related issues have highlighted the growing knowledge deficit.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa CEO, Chris Roberts.

TIA Chief Executive, Chris Roberts, said that even though tourism had taken centre stage in recent years with its contribution to the New Zealand economy, the range of tourism data is smaller now than it has ever been and has failed to keep pace with changes in how data is made available.

“At a time when we’ve never had more access to information, it’s truly remarkable how little we know about tourism in New Zealand,” Roberts said.

“The revival and revitalisation of tourism will require serious improvements to be made to the tourism data and research system.

“Work to improve the tourism data system was started at a Tourism Information and Data Hui convened by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment in late 2019 but progress has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Roberts added.

“We must get moving. A collaborative approach by the public and private sectors is needed to address priorities for tourism data and research.”