Tourism strategy outlined

Mick San Juan Brady and Cindy O'Brien, both of Ireland, visit Puzzling World, Wanaka. Photo by Mark Price.
Mick San Juan Brady and Cindy O'Brien, both of Ireland, visit Puzzling World, Wanaka. Photo by Mark Price.
A new economic development strategy identifies Wanaka as one of several ''opportunities'' for achieving higher tourist spending.

The report done for the Queenstown Lakes District Council by Martin Jenkins will be tabled at a meeting of the council on Thursday.

The two priorities identified in the strategy are generating ''higher value'' tourism and growing ''knowledge-based industries''.

In the tourism section, Mr Jenkins said the main focus ''needs to be on growing visitor expenditure, not just on growing numbers''.

He listed four ''opportunities'' for doing that, including achieving ''higher growth in visitor expenditure'' in Wanaka.

The others, applying to the whole district, were:

• Increasing growth in higher expenditure visitors.

• Increasing the proportion of business visitors.

• Developing higher value offerings and reducing seasonality in visitor numbers.

Mr Jenkins said there were seasonal ''troughs'' in tourist numbers after Easter until the end of June and from September to November.

''Reducing the size of the troughs would clearly help to increase visitor expenditure annually, while not putting additional pressure on infrastructure in peak periods.''

In his report, Mr Jenkins noted the district had achieved higher growth in tourism over the past decade than the rest of the country, with visitor expenditure in the district estimated at more than $1.5 billion in 2013.

However, he pointed out Wanaka, which was more reliant on domestic visitors, had had ''more moderate growth'' than Queenstown.

Mr Jenkins said Wanaka's tourism reflected a more personal, open-space and away-from-the-crowds experience.

He considered there could be a need to assess the effectiveness of the split in destination marketing and promotion responsibilities and in his summary of proposed actions to be achieved within nine months, Mr Jenkins said a review of economic development funding and support needed to be done.

He suggested the council consider employing two more staff to expand its marketing and promotion functions.

mark.price@odt.co.nz