The Inbound Tour Operators’ Council (ITOC) has revamped itself and is now known as the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand.
“The new name will improve our profile and better reflect that tourism is a valuable export industry,” chief executive Lesley Immink says.
Immink said when the Inbound Tour Operators of Australia changed its name to the Australian Tourism Export Council a decade ago, tour operators finally realised they were part of the tourism export industry and were proud of it. The government was able to identify and recognise the contribution of tourism to the economy and fund it appropriately, and Australians started to appreciate the job opportunities tourism offered nationwide.
“It’s time for a culture shift in the country about the value of tourism to the economy,” Immink said. “ITOC needed to re-energise itself, step up as the private sector of the industry and demonstrate its leadership capability.”
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said all efforts made to invest in the future of the industry, and enhance its performance and the visitor experience, were welcomed.
“Name changes are name changes – the actions of the organisation under its new name is what will ultimately count."
The rebranded organisation plans to start a youth leadership national development programme to motivate and inspire new industry members, and help them develop business knowledge and networks. They will be matched with industry mentors who will share their experience and knowledge.
Other achievements heading into 2012 include an exclusive agreement with the Department of Conservation regarding guiding concessions on its estate and an economic impact report looking at the contribution of the inbound industry to New Zealand’s economy.