Mike Hosking: Stuart Nash is right on the need for better tourists

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 Nov 2020, 3:47PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Mike Hosking: Stuart Nash is right on the need for better tourists

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 Nov 2020, 3:47PM

I sort of let Stuart Nash’s first foray into tourism slide, because we have him on the show each week and we kind of covered it off at the time.

But what an astonishing, ongoing, ‘can we get over it and move on’ kind of reaction we have continued to have.  

You do realise he isn’t banning people, don’t you? All he said is we want to target the wealthy, we don’t want people crapping in our water ways and all that got banned were vans with no toilets.

to judge by the headlines, op-eds ,whinging, hand wringing and yelping ,you’d think he had gone to Auckland  airport and set up a kiosk that, when borders open again, would be staffed by people shaking down arriving tourists and anyone caught with less than $20,000 would be frog marched back into the plane.

It’s yet another sign that you can’t have an idea in this country. an eminently sensible idea, without the usual array of doom merchants lining up to tell you where you’ve gone wrong and how anything to do with money and success is bad news and we want none of it.

Before Covid, when we had an international tourist industry, there was general if not universal agreement that we had far too many people coming to this country for little net gain.

Small towns were inundated with no facilities from car parks to toilets to cope. There were fly in fly out bus tours, draining resource for no great return.

We had already decided quality not quantity was the way forward.

All Stuart did was articulate that and ban some cheap vans. He’s not banning back packers, he’s not closing youth hostels, and he’s not shuttering any hotels that aren’t five stars. He’s simply wanting to do what we had already decided was a good idea and it is.

When you’re the cream of the crop, and we are, you can be selective. You can set the agenda, and why, given our beauty international reputation and demand, wouldn’t we?

Why wouldn’t we charge through the nose for the experience? Do you want 10 at $100 or one at a $1000? Do we do mass or select? Are we economy or business? Are we Motel 6 or the Ritz Carlton?

The answer is simple. We just hadn’t got past the point of talking and onto the doing. The hope comes in the form of a new minister who gets it

Tourism is the golden goose, or a golden goose. It is a business, not a charity. So let’s get on with it.