Dunedin tourism operators are apprehensive about changes to
the city's marketing agency.
Conflicts of interest could arise with the Dunedin City
Council (DCC) taking the reins by scrapping Tourism Dunedin,
some said yesterday.
The council has revealed it will create an in-house marketing
agency to promote Dunedin business, education and tourism.
The concept, considered since last year, could be implemented
Larnach Castle director Norcombe Barker said he and other
tourism operators were concerned about how the new agency
would work, and the potential for conflicts of interest in
promoting council-owned assets and tourism operations in
competition with private businesses.
The former Dunedin Host chairman said members had been
opposed to the in-house model for some time.
''There are a lot of conflicts of interest there, which
concerns us greatly,'' he said.
He would watch with interest who influenced marketing and
promotion of council-owned venues such as the Forsyth Barr
Stadium and the Dunedin Centre, as a competitor.
''When the DCC goes away to promote Dunedin, will it promote
its own products or private business?'' Mr Barker said the
change also meant tourism was no longer the sole focus of an
organisation, but one facet of Dunedin's promotion, and was
''not high on the agenda any more''.
''Time will tell how this pans out, and I just hope it
doesn't put us backwards.''
Dunedin Host chairwoman Kylie Ruwhiu-Karawana said members
were nervous about the potential, under the new model, for
not being as involved in decision-making as before.
She said there were good reasons why the majority of
marketing agencies were external, and said Tourism New
Zealand's external relationship with the Ministry of Tourism
was a good example of what worked well in the industry.
An in-house model might limit opportunities to market and
sell tourism products at the same time, she said.
''We've got to be sure the people in that body understand the
difference between tourism management and tourism
marketing,'' she said.
Regional Tourism Organisations New Zealand executive officer
Charlie Ives said the country's 29 RTOs were structured
depending on the circumstances and requirements of each
There was no standard model, and the in-house agency
structure was working in some places, he said.