By TRACEY ROXBURGH
An Aussie professor and tourism expert says the tourism industry needs to change to a ‘‘net benefit model’’.
Susanne Becken , Queensland’s Griffith University’s professor of sustainable tourism and Department of Conservation’s principal science investment advisor, spoke the recent University of Otago Tourism Policy School in Queenstown.
She says tourism’s an ‘‘inherently consumptive activity’’ and there’s a need for a new model to make sure the industry makes a ‘‘positive contribution’’.
‘‘We need to determine what do we measure to determine a net benefit?
‘‘What is ‘in’ and what is ‘out’?
‘‘For example, the public sector cost-benefit account?
‘‘Who receives the benefit/profit and who pays, including external costs, and are there any non-negotiables or taboos?’’
Becken says a ‘‘sweet spot’’, where tourism value and volume meet, needs to be found, while environmental, social, economic and cultural well-being all need to be balanced.
Through her work in the Tourism Futures Taskforce, an independent group established to advise the New Zealand government on changes needed to the industry, she says the country needs to move from ‘‘extractive to regenerative’’ tourism models.
Becken says the value of tourism can be increased and its costs managed, which ‘‘may have to involve managing volume or tourist numbers’’.