Tourism forum keeps an eye on future

The future of the tourism and visitor economies in the Queenstown Lakes district will be discussed at a forum next week in Queenstown and Wanaka.

The Shaping Our Future forum will review the present position and estimate what may occur 50 years or more in the future to identify issues and opportunities and to consider the effects of tourism on the region's growing permanent population.

Shaping Our Future chairman David Kennedy said the forum was open to everyone.

''Tourism is the main driver of the Queenstown Lakes district economy and so a far-reaching discussion about tourism is relevant to everyone in the Queenstown Lakes district.

"This forum is not about marketing or how to attract more visitors, but more about taking a good look at the direction of our tourism and visitor economies and making any adjustments we need.

"Are we heading for big issues and if so, what changes do we need to make to avoid them or to positively affect our future?''

After the first forums, a volunteer task force will be established to investigate issues and ideas.

The task force will report back to the forum with recommendations to be forwarded in turn to relevant agencies or groups.

The Shaping Our Future forum is the fifth to be held: those on economic futures, energy futures and innovation are all under way.