Letter: Tourism on our terms

There is an interesting link between the three recent projects trying to shorten the travel time to Milford Sound.

They all require the loss of native forest and habitats of our fully protected native flora and fauna, all compromise the clean, green image on which our tourism and exports rely - as well as our national identity.

And they all have a symbolism not lost on some as they consist of ''virgin'' forest (the Haast road), a tunnel, and a monorail.

Hmmmm. So nineteenth century.

Separately or collectively they would add to the congestion at Milford, and reduce the already at-risk positive visitor experience.

As Dr Geoff Bertram noted in a speech to the Forest and Bird South Island gathering at Hokitika recently regarding setting environmental bottom lines, ''The market works best when it knows what is allowed to do''.

As he put it, ''hard constraints make good economics'' and the hard constraints are making all 50 conservation areas, currently awaiting permanent designation, ''no-go'' areas for any exploitation (also known quaintly as ''development'').

It's also high time Queenstown learned to play nicely with Te Anau, sharing the tourism potential of both areas for the mutual benefit of all, including local and international visitors.

Tourism has to be on our terms, otherwise we are in danger of wrecking the very precious environment that others love to see and experience.


The Southland Times