Confused about Tourism Organisations in NZ?A follower on Twitter offered this question to our blog on Twitter this morning:

“What’s the difference between Tourism NZ, Ministry of Tourism, Maori Tourism Council – RTO’s, MRTO’s – overkill?”

She raises a good point here, there seem to be a lot of layers of tourism organisations in New Zealand – what are all their different functions and is it indeed overkill, or is it just confusing?  So let’s analyse this a bit further with some brief definitions of each to try add some clarity for those unsure:

Ministry of Tourism

The head honcho of tourism decision making in New Zealand, this is directly from their website: “The Ministry works to maximise the benefits to New Zealand from the sustainable development of the tourism industry.”  Essentially their function is more about the infrastructure and development needs for tourism, they also monitor and provide ongoing research about the performance of tourism for our economy.

Tourism New Zealand

This is an easy one and I think few would dispute it’s necessity and importance for the industry, officially “Tourism New Zealand is the organisation responsible for marketing New Zealand to the world as a tourist destination.”  Responsible for the Pure New Zealand brand and any campaigns associated with promoting New Zealand to visitors.


An association with paid membership for tourism operators, “The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand is the largest representative body of tourism operators in New Zealand.” and their goal is to “To be the strong and inspirational voice of tourism, to deliver real bottom line value to our members, and continue to help build the tourism sector as a strong, vibrant and responsible bedrock industry for New Zealand.”  They provide some key events for tourism operators like TRENZ, The regional leadership series and symposiums, tourism industry awards and workshops.

Regional Tourism Organisations (RTO’s)

Responsible for promoting their regions to domestic and international visitors they are pretty much like a mini Tourism New Zealand for your region and are a great support for marketing advice and resources for their local tourism operators.  For an individual tourism operator I think this is one of the most useful organisations in terms of direct support.  Apart from the 29 main RTO’s there are also a whole other set of sub-regional tourism organisations set up to promote their own areas and events.

Maori Tourism Council

This organisation provides direction and support to their paid members (such as Maori Regional Tourism Organisations) and from their website defines their role as “The Society has been established to operate as the national voice for Maori tourism and to provide a mutually supportive network for the development of best practice by member Maori Regional Tourism Organizations (MRTOs), which will lead to business growth and prosperity for Maori in tourism.”

Maori Regional Tourism Organisations (MRTO’s)

The MRTO’s are members of the Maori Tourism Council and provide support and help to promote the member maori tourism operators in their region. Members essentially can be any tourism organisation that provides a maori cultural aspect to their products ans services.

Each of these organisations have their own separate functions and key areas of interest, there are of course multiple other tourism organisations and associations catering for different tourism sectors and areas of specialty.

Do they interact and particularly for the marketing organisations do they plan together to ensure an overall consistent approach to marketing our destinations?  And getting back to the original question asked on Twitter – is it overkill?  Perhaps this has helped to make it less confusing, but some comments from those involved may be able to help further?

5 thoughts on “Tourism Organisations in New Zealand: Confused by it all?

  1. This might be a good post to mention the newly reformed New Zealand backpacking association. The simplest way to explain what the association does would be to say it is a communications link from the backpacking and youth adventure tourism industry to TIA and Tourism NZ.

    1. Sure, why not – another association to add to the list 🙂 Good luck with your new organisation.

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by nztourismblog: New blog post: Tourism Orgainsations in New Zealand – Confused by it all?

  3. Just to let you know … we’re adding a link to this feature online the Planeta wiki

    1. Nice one, thanks Ron 🙂

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