Queenstown Lakes aims to be world’s first carbon zero tourism destination


New Zealand’s Queenstown Lakes has declared its intention to be the world’s first carbon zero tourism destination by 2030.

The announcement by Mayor Glyn Lewers comes off the back of the presentation of the revised regenerative tourism strategy for the district ‘Travel to a thriving future’.

The goal of carbon zero is to include aviation, both flights into and from the district, and transport within the district. It is also firmly committed to removing carbon and not using offsetting as a solution.

“I’m emboldened by the collective response we have had from the community, Council, our airport and businesses both large and small,” said Lewers.

Mayor Glyn Lewers.

“We know it won’t be easy but everyone realises the need to urgently decarbonise. This is not only the right thing to do for our extraordinary environment and of course the planet, but also secures the future of tourism, our biggest industry. We see huge benefits in leading this on the global stage.”

Destination Think CEO Rodney Payne said being the first tourism destination in the world to commit to being carbon zero by 2030 is a major advantage.

“It starts to create momentum and build a market that gives investors confidence,” he said.

“Queenstown Lakes has put their hand up to say we’re ready to be that testbed, we’re ready to be that first adopter of new innovations to achieve this. That builds a reputation for the place that is going to stimulate all kinds of economic growth and help diversify the economy as well as doing something that’s really powerful.”

Destination Think has been in the district as part of the feedback process, helping review and refine the final stages of the destination management strategy, along with Destination Queenstown chief executive Mat Woods and Lake Wānaka Tourism chief executive Tim Barke.