by Russel Norman
John Key’s reaction to the distance-based UK departure tax shows just how out of touch he is about our economic future. This Government is deeply in denial.
There is no question that climate change and rising fossil fuel prices will change travel patterns, and we should be taking this future into account in our tourism and economic strategies.
International air travel was not covered in the original Kyoto Accord, but Europe recognised early on that a price on carbon emissions from long haul flights would have to be applied. Otherwise, growth in demand for air travel would quickly outstrip any gains in fuel efficiency.
There is nothing wrong with the Government lobbying for New Zealand’s interests in the UK, but we need to be realistic. Collectively humans will travel by air less frequently in the near future, because we’re not going to see a cheap replacement for fossil fuels for aircraft any time soon. Even if we weren’t concerned about human induced climate change, rising oil prices will have the exact same dampening effect on international tourism.
So it’s time to pull our heads out of the sand, and start planning for an economic future that isn’t reliant on cheap fossil fuels. This means rethinking tourism, Mr Key. Here are some ideas about a realistic tourism strategy.