Arts vital for the future of tourism says Creative New Zealand

18 Jan 2019

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 A Waka Odyssey, New Zealand Festival 2018, Photography by Matt Grace
A Waka Odyssey, New Zealand Festival 2018, Photography by Matt Grace

Creative New Zealand is advocating for arts and culture to be a core component of our national tourism agenda in its draft submission on the Government’s Aotearoa New Zealand Tourism Strategy.

A growing body of international research is showing the significant impact the arts have on tourism. Studies have shown that the arts can attract visitors to the regions, provide year-round tourism opportunities, boost the economy and help visitors to connect to a new culture.  

A recent report from Australia Council for the Arts found that visitors to Australia were more likely to go to an arts event or activity (43%) than to visit wineries (13%), casinos (12%) or organised sporting events (6%). In the UK, culture and heritage attractions were found to make up for more than a quarter of international visitors’ spending.

The draft submission notes that one of the strategy’s proposed outcomes is that the average spend per visitor increases so New Zealand tourism value grows faster than volume.

David Pannett, Creative New Zealand’s senior manager for advocacy, says arts and culture present a smart investment for productive tourism growth. “International research shows visitors who participate in arts and culture activities are more likely to spend more and stay longer. There’s potential for the arts to play a key role in growing tourism in a way that benefits our regions and communities.”

The submission also notes that arts and culture destinations and events, such as galleries, festivals, theatres and music groups exist in every region of Aotearoa. A number of destinations have already established an international profile and attract national and international tourism.  

Examples include Wellington’s New Zealand Festival and World of WearableArt, The Court Theatre in Christchurch, the Michael Hill International Violin Contest in Queenstown, the WOMAD World Music Festival in New Plymouth, and the touring Te Matatini Kapa Haka festival.

Arts and culture destinations and events also make a major contribution to our economy. It is estimated that the New Zealand Festival contributes more than $55 million to the Wellington city economy. The 2018 Festival welcomed 1,000 artists from 27 countries and more than 100,000 festival goers.

The submission also advocates for ensuring Māori tourism experiences are at the heart of the New Zealand visitor experience, and iwi are supported to tell their stories and share the value of places. It recognises that ngā toi Māori have the potential to create new tourism opportunities for New Zealanders and overseas visitors.

David says the arts are a core part of manaakitanga and ensuring visitors enjoy authentic and memorable experiences in Aotearoa. “We believe visitors want to experience what makes New Zealand unique, and our arts and culture play a vital role in that,” he says.

Consultation on the Aotearoa New Zealand Government Tourism Strategy closes at 5.00 pm, Monday, 4 February 2019. Creative New Zealand will continue to work on its draft submission and encourages others to make submissions of their own.

Read the draft submission