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Tourism Policy School aims to “connect the dots” – University of Otago

Creating a cohesive and connected tourism industry is the focus of this year’s University of Otago Tourism Policy School.

Hosted by the Otago Business School’s Department of Tourism, the sixth annual policy school will beheld at the Heritage Queenstown on 21 and 22 March.

School Co-Director Associate Professor Susan Houge Mackenzie expects the event will continue to foster conversations between people across diverse areas and all levels of the tourism industry, from local business owners and community leaders to national policymakers and researchers.

“TPS brings together groups of people who wouldn’t necessarily be in the room together to talk about big policy issues,” she says.

A key focus is: “After the recent industry disruptions, how can we move forward cohesively in a positive way?”

Guest speakers include the Minister of Tourism Hon Matt Doocey, Regional Tourism New Zealand’s Kiri Goulter, Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s Bruce Bassett, Office of the Auditor-General’s Hamish Flanagan, Hospitality New Zealand’s Steve Armitage and Central Otago District Council’s Dylan Rushbrook.

This year’s theme is Connecting the dots: Fostering a cohesive and connected tourism system.

Associate Professor Houge Mackenzie says there has been a lot of discussion about the need for more cohesion across the industry and related sectors, including regions which are in the implementation phase of destination management plans.

“The tourism industry relies on a range of different actors and agencies at local, regional and national levels, so the more connection we can create among them, the better.

“The overall goal is to help connect all these different entities in the tourism sector and help drive policy in a direction that’s positive over the long term.”

The policy school starts at midday on Thursday 21 March and is split into four sessions over two days. Sessions will focus on connecting policy and regulation with tourism operators, supporting cohesive destination stewardship, ‘connecting the dots’ across the diverse New Zealand tourism ecosystem, and future policy opportunities.

Milford Opportunities Chair Jenn Bestwick will give a free public lecture Thursday at 5pm.

Real NZ Chief Marketing and Digital Officer Scott McNab will speak at the school’s formal dinner that evening.

Now in its sixth year, the Tourism Policy School regularly unites people from around the industry, and country, to talk about the “big picture”, Associate Professor Houge Mackenzie says.

“I hope it creates meaningful change from the national level down to the regional and local levels.”

The policy school is generously supported by Destination Queenstown, Queenstown Airport and Remarkables Park Ltd.


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