EDS urges tourism sector to get active in environmental advocacy

EDS urges tourism sector to get active in environmental advocacy

Media Release: EDS urges tourism sector to get active in environmental advocacy

The Environmental Defence Society has urged the tourism sector to get more active in advocating for New Zealand’s natural heritage at the Tourism Export Council’s conference in Te Anau today.

Presenting a keynote address, EDS CEO Gary Taylor said that the environmental movement and the tourism industry had a common interest in protecting New Zealand’s unique environmental assets.

“We’ve just come out of our own conference last week which explored a number of environmental and societal tipping points,” said Gary Taylor.

“It’s noteworthy that advocacy for our environment is led by environmental groups who seek to represent the public interest in good environmental outcomes. It’s the tourism industry that makes money out of our unique offering but it’s largely absent from advocacy for the environment.

“Two examples of this are the current stoush over the loss of tussock grasslands in the Mackenzie Country and the random proliferation of industrial scale salmon farms in the protected parts of the Marlborough Sounds.

“Both places are important parts of our offering to the world. They are at the core of our biggest export earner: not dairying but tourism. Yet while farming interests – whether dairy or aquaculture – are active in advocacy for their interests, tourism is not present.

“So my message to the Tourism Conference was that while they need to be aware of their own environmental footprint, they also need to get much more engaged in advocacy for our natural heritage and stop freeriding on the efforts of groups like EDS, Forest and Bird and Fish and Game.

“We need all hands to the pump if we’re to turn around our extremely concerning loss of landscapes and our declining birdlife and other creatures unique to these islands,” Mr Taylor concluded.

Gary Taylor's speech.

Last updated at 8:54AM on August 17, 2017