June 25, 2018
Tribal backing needed for tourism sector growth
MEI COOPER INTERVIEW
A Waikato Tainui woman says post-settlement iwi should be investing in tourism infrastructure to back up whānau businesses.
Mei Cooper earned a doctorate this year for her research on investment in authentic sustainable cultural tourism.
Her studies were motivated by what she sees as an over-emphasis by tribes on commercial investments rather than in their people.
Tourism brings in $37 billion to the economy and is the country's largest employer, but most Māori firms are small whānau-run operations with little capital to grow.
Their prospects would be enhanced by tribal investments in accommodation and transport.
"It's infusing mainstream activities with our culture, employing our skilled tribal descendants, and linking these businesses to our Māori tourism providers so if we can engage at a tribal level and manaaki our whānau businesses, that will be more sustainable," Dr Cooper says.
Go to: puawaitourism.com for further information.
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