WELLINGTON, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's clean and green image is being so eroded that the government should reconsider the country's long-standing "100% Pure" marketing slogan, a leading international tourism expert said Monday.
"If we just want to be the tourist destination, rugby field and farm of the South Pacific it is excellent. If we want to be more than that, we need to leverage it in other directions," University of Canterbury marketing and tourism professor Michael Hall said.
"We need to realize that not only does it not support some aspects of what we want to say to the world, but that other countries are also starting to position themselves in a very familiar fashion," Hall said in a statement.
Late last year Prime Minister John Key, who is also Tourism Minister, defended New Zealand's "100% Pure" brand after international media reported that it misrepresented the country's environmental record.
"It has got to the point that I think the image is starting to erode, not because of one single environmental issue as yet, but because it's being incrementally eroded," Hall said, citing the government's road building polices and increasing commercialization of conservation areas as examples.
He said the record on climate change was abysmal and an international embarrassment, especially in Europe, and water quality was falling as farming intensified.
"Perhaps the government believes that by focusing on Asian markets our environmental record isn't quite such a concern," he said.
"The problem with '100% Pure' is that while it helps our biological economy as in agriculture and wine, as well as tourism, it really doesn't help present New Zealand as being particularly innovative or high tech."
If the country wanted to attract educated and skilled people, then "what is also forgotten is that attractive, high quality environments are also a part of our overall competitiveness."