A name change for the Inbound Tour Operators Council (ITOC) aims to remind tourism operators they’re part of New Zealand’s number one export industry.
“Some members of our industry fail to see the link to tourism being an export industry and we hope to change that,” chief executive Lesley Immink says. “With tourism as an export industry, the product and service is purchased by non-residents but experienced here. The word ‘inbound’ confuses the issue.”
The name change, which takes effect today, aims to inform and remind operators they should be proud to be involved in the tourism export sector. It is also hoped the inclusion of the words ‘tourism and export’ will help local and national government understand the economic value of the industry, and increase public appreciation of the employment opportunities it offers local communities.
A decade ago, when the Inbound Tour Operators of Australia changed its name to the Australian Tourism Export Council, tour operators finally realised they were part of the tourism export industry and were proud of that. ITOC hopes to achieve similar objectives with New Zealand operators.
“It was time for ITOC to re-energise itself, step up as the private sector of the industry and demonstrate its leadership capability. The name change is the first step towards doing that,” Lesley says.
President of the Tourism Export Council Martin Horgan adds, “I’m truly excited about the opportunities the re-branding will bring the organisation and our members. We’re enhancing our brand equity and whilst we’ve moved on from the ITOC brand identity, it’s something our membership and industry will be proud of and certainly not forgotten.
Tourism Export is what we do today and what we need to be recognised for”.
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler congratulated the Tourism Export Council on its latest developments. “Last year some 2.6 million travellers visited New Zealand so all efforts made to invest in the future of the industry, and enhance the industry’s performance and the visitor experience, is welcomed.”
ITOC has had at its heart the desire to grow inbound tourism to NZ, Tourism Industry Association spokeswoman Ann-Marie Johnson says. “If the Tourism Export Council, in partnership with the rest of the industry, can continue to build that focus and help bring even more attention to the high value of inbound tourism to NZ then the name change will make a difference.
“Name changes are name changes – the actions of the organisation under its new name is what will ultimately count.”
As part of this year’s rebrand, the Tourism Export Council website – www.tourismexportcouncil.org.nz – goes live this month. New features include an ‘electronic flipping book directory’, an e-notice board for members to post updates, a section for vacant tourism industry positions and a meet the member promotion. “More engagement and promotion of member benefits is key to the Tourism Export Council’s future,” Lesley says.
The organisation also plans to initiate a youth leadership national development programme designed 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.
Source = Tourism Export Council