Subject: Info: Eco-tourism and New Zealand

Michael Williamson (whe_william)
Mon, 14 Feb 1995 13:57:09

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Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 13:51:26 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Info: Eco-tourism and New Zealand
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From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 14-FEB-1995 13:06:58.44
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Subj:	NZ COULD BECOME WORLD LEADER IN ECO-TOURISM, BANKS SAYS
 
Date:         Tue, 14 Feb 1995 09:56:01 PST
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
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From:         Terry Hardie <terry@bytes.gen.nz>
Subject:      NZ COULD BECOME WORLD LEADER IN ECO-TOURISM, BANKS SAYS
To:           Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
 
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
09-Feb-95 07:29 pm Regular  National
 
NZ COULD BECOME WORLD LEADER IN ECO-TOURISM, BANKS SAYS
 
 
   Wellington, Feb 9 - An international award to a Kaikoura
whale-watching venture proved New Zealand could be a world leader in
eco-tourism, Tourism Minister John Banks said today.
   The Ngai Tahu tribe's Whale Watch Kaikoura was named global
winner of the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Award after being
selected from 15 finalists and a record 120 entries for the ``green
tourism'' award.
   It was presented to Whale Watch's general manager Wally Stone by
British Airways chairman Sir Colin Marshall at a gala event in
London this morning New Zealand time.
   Mr Banks said the award was ``very beneficial to New Zealand's
tourism image''.
   ``I am proud that a New Zealand company has been internationally
recognised as having the highest possible standards, and futuristic
in its approach to tourism.''
   Meanwhile, Labour Department community employment group manager
Parekura Horomia said he hoped the award would ``provide inspiration
to other communities''.
   ``Whale Watch Kaikoura is a great example of what motivated New
Zealand communities can do to generate local economic development,''
he said in a statement.
   Other communities should ``think laterally about how they could
use local resources to create new business opportunities and jobs''.
   Conservationist and media personality David Bellamy, who chaired
the judging panel, said the awards promoted the effective management
of tourism and that was what Whale Watch had accomplished.
   ``It is innovative, makes a major contribution to sustainable
tourism and is sensitive to the environment,'' he said.
   ``While some nations are sadly lobbying for sustainable
harvesting of whales, now that world bans have produced gradually
increasing numbers of them, this whale watch project is vital
because it makes the whales a valuable commodity in the sea without
killing them.''
   Dr Bellamy also praised Whale Watch for transforming Ngai Tahu's
marae into an education centre.
   ``Education programmes in a range of environmental subjects
including marine tourism, forestry and fisheries conservation, plus
the teaching of culture and tradition, has re-established the marae
as the community centre it should be,'' he said.
   Mr Stone said Whale Watch was the first of about 30 commercial
whale-watching operators in New Zealand, but remained globally
unique in that whales could be seen off Kaikoura for 12 months of
the year.
   This was due to the proximity of the continental shelf to the
shore and the fact that three ocean currents -- one along the
Hikurangi trench from Tonga, another from Antarctica and a third
from the Chatham Rise -- rose from the deep to create an abundance
of nutrients at the start of the sea mammals' food chain.
   He said weather was the only inhibiting factor in being unable to
watch whales -- particularly sperm whales, but also orcas and
sometimes the rare blue species.
   This financial year Whale Watch expects to take 44,000 people out
in its four boats and feels it cannot expand its operations further
 
#                                                                        Page 2
 
without harming the whales.
   ``We are conscious as a business that if we overstep the mark,
and scare the whales away, we no longer have a business,'' Mr Stone
said.
   He concurred with a recent World Wildlife Fund report that the
current whale-watching operation did not negatively affect the
whales, but any more boats could scare them away.
   Mr Stone said Whale Watch was a non-profit company which had
brought social benefits to the whole Kaikoura community.
   The British Airways award was the first international competition
Whale Watch had entered and he was pleased that Whale Watch had
become a ``national icon'' reinforcing New Zealand tourism's clean,
green image.
   The ceremony will be broadcast on Britain's top television travel
show Wish You Were Here...? and is due to feature on the front page
of Britain's Sunday Times' travel section this weekend.
 
 
NZPA PAR pq reg rds