Auckland paves the way for sustainable tourism

The Taurikura Initiative, a capability building programme designed to support visitor economy businesses to accelerate their sustainability journey, has been completed.

The initiative is a free, 12-week course for visitor economy businesses across Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland wanting to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to lead the charge in their sustainability approach and create positive change. It offers personalised one-on-one support, collaborative workshops, community building and assistance in the creation of sustainability action plans.

The Taurikura Initiative offers personalised one-on-one support, collaborative workshops, community building and assistance in the creation of sustainability action plans

The programme is being delivered by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, the region’s economic and cultural agency, in partnership with Tourism Industry Aotearoa, which represents all sectors of the industry in Aotearoa to enable the best tourism experiences possible.

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s head of visitor economy Annie Dundas said: “Like all sectors, the visitor economy must consider the impacts it has on the environment, local communities and natural resources. In addition, visitor expectations are changing with growing demand for environmentally sustainable and community-focused tourism options.

“We also know that employees are attracted to working for businesses whose values align with theirs. It’s clear that every visitor economy operator has a crucial role to play in creating an authentically sustainable industry in both Tāmaki Makaurau and Aotearoa.”

She continued: “To reduce the visitor economy’s carbon footprint, mitigate the effects of climate change and meet evolving visitor demands, businesses need practical tools to drive change. The Taurikura Initiative provides a framework to create positive change for the environment, communities, industry and individual businesses through problem-solving, planned action and strategic decision-making. This programme is so important for the recovery and the long-term viability of our visitor economy sector.”

Rebecca Ingram, CEO of Tourism Industry Aotearoa, remarked that assisting businesses to move to a better future state is one of the organisation’s most satisfying roles.

“We are thrilled with the progress of operators in this first cohort. Not only have they made substantial changes in their own business, but they are taking the lead on sustainability initiatives in their own communities. This is where we see real change for the environment and in our society.”

Waiheke Island and Aotea Great Barrier Island businesses began the 12-week programme in late March and completed it on June 12. The next cohort with operators from Rodney and central city began yesterday and will complete on October 23.

Feedback from participants has been positive. After completing the programme, Waiheke Island’s Ananda Tours, which offers premium food and wine experiences, achieved Qualmark Gold, having been Silver for several years.

“Although I felt strongly about the need to drive a more sustainable business, I struggled with dedicating the time to really focus on making changes and finding out where to start. The programme was helpful as it showed some simple steps and small changes we could make to minimise our impact straight away, while making a start on bigger goals to work towards in the future,” shared Brooke Robinson, owner of Ananda Tours.

Since taking part in the initiative, tourism operators on Aotea Great Barrier Island have begun working on a plan to phase out single use cups by working with hospitality outlets on a suitable alternative, a movement which has been successfully implemented in Wanaka.

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