Call to help shape tourism plan

Central Otago residents are being called on to help shape the future of tourism in the district by getting involved in the development of a destination management plan.

Government funding has been allocated to regional tourism organisations around New Zealand to develop destination management plans that encapsulate the thinking of their communities.

Tourism Central Otago (a division of the Central Otago District Council), in partnership with mana whenua, has begun work on the project.

Central Otago District Council chief executive Sanchia Jacobs said it was a chance for the people of Central Otago to have a say in marketing the region’s "unfakeable assets".

"If you, your partner, your children, your extended family, your business colleagues or community group friends have talked about ‘what next?’ or even ‘I wish ...’ this is a chance to play a role in mapping out something very special.”

Independent market research company Angus & Associates was looking to find people from all walks of life and all corners of the Central Otago district.

They would contribute to discussions at Tourism Futures workshops to understand how communities wanted to see tourism evolving over the next 10, 20, 30 and up to 50 years and beyond.

The workshops would be followed by an online community survey to provide data to be used to inform the directions for tourism development across Central Otago.

Tourism Central Otago general manager Dylan Rushbrook said Central Otago should not just wait and see what the future would bring.

“Now is the time to have robust discussions to frame up a living vision and pathway to the best possible future of tourism for this region."

More importantly, it would look at how tourism linked in with other sectors — in Central Otago’s case, horticulture, viticulture, farming and construction.

That meant it would be grounded in what the community wanted, not necessarily what distant strategists, policymakers or those with loud voices and strong opinions thought, he said.

In 2018, a new long-term tourism strategy to guide the development of tourism across Central Otago was adopted with the goal of doubling the value of tourism rather than driving volume.

The strategy identified the need to develop a master plan to optimise the value of tourism and to mitigate the impacts of unplanned growth.

Indications were travel would begin to reactivate and ramp up from next year.

Therefore, this project had a deliberately short timeframe to achieve a destination management plan that was ready for implementation in the first half of next year.

Registrations are open until October 17 and can be made online at centralotagonz.com.

 

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