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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 6 (September 1, 1934)

New Zealand for the World

New Zealand for the World

In one sense there has, fortunately, never been any need to develop a cry “New Zealand for New Zealanders.” There have, of course, been ups and downs, but the general tendency has been to absorb easily the accretions of good British stock that have helped to bring this country's population up to the present figure of over 1,600,000. The later human imports of this kind, as they settled down, have become—just as the early settlers did—good New Zealanders all. In a broader sense, the best service to New Zealanders can be given by recognising that “New Zealand for the World” would be the wiser slogan when the economic possibilities of the tourist traffic to be built on such a belief are taken into account.

The principle is now generally accepted that any country which can draw tourist trade is attracting a means of national wealth that becomes more important as transport becomes faster, cheaper and safer.

In Europe, both Italy and Russia have made this business an important State function. The latest information from Germany is to the effect that the German State Railways, for the months July to October of this year, are making a special reduction of 60 per cent. on all fares for foreign visitors spending any time from seven days to two months in that country. This is a clear indication of the intensity of competition for the traffic and of the economic importance attached to it by the Governments of the countries concerned.

No other country has as much to offer the tourist in the range and interest of its attractions as New Zealand. Its main disadvantage in competing for tourist trade, that of distance from the principal centres of population, has to be counteracted by special methods of approach to the problem. It was because this necessity was recognised that so comprehensive a conference of interests concerned in the Dominion's tourist business was possible last month.

There is no doubt that the community as a whole must profit from successful further developments of a traffic intended to bring the world of travellers to our shores, and that the interests concerned must work together with a truly national outlook if marked progress in the direction indicated is to be recorded.

Great Britain built her present economic stability by using her main resources of coal and iron to the best advantage from the time of the economic revolution. New Zealand has made her progress up to the present out of the best she had to offer at the time, in stages of wool, frozen meat, and butter and cheese; and the swing from one to another has been registered in terms of anticipated or realised profit. It is something new for a typically farming country to have to regard an industry that does not take anything out of the land as a trump card in a complicated economic deal where quotas and subsidies, exchanges and trade agreements have disturbed the old established order of things. But the trump card is there, and rightly played should do as much in the near future for the country's benefit in tourist development as the freezer did, in its time, for the colony's languishing pastoral industry.