Focus on domestic visitors

A laser-focused campaign to attract domestic visitors to Waitaki and help upskill those who host them are key plans for Tourism Waitaki, a document to be presented to Waitaki district councillors reveals.

This year has brought about a number of changes at the Waitaki District Council-controlled organisation that is charged with promoting the district nationally and internationally.

A restructure, staff cuts, the closure of the Oamaru and Omarama i-Sites, and Whitestone City, primarily due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and its related international travel bans, has put financial strain on the organisation, as has an identified need to change the audience it markets to and its marketing tactics.

Tourism Waitaki will table an updated statement of intent, a requirement for all council-controlled companies, at an additional meeting of the full council on Tuesday, after being given an extension when the initial June 30 deadline passed, again due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

Tourism Waitaki general manager Margaret Munro said it was possible the document may be altered further after being considered by councillors.

"It might need to be re-looked at, but we are trying to get that focus on the domestic side of things, so that’s what we will be
working with in the near future.

"It’s going to be a bit like a living document for tourism in the next few years . . . as it fluxes and changes, we need to change with it."

That change involved hosting workshops with tourism operators to give them a "better insight" of how the industry worked, and upskilling them in the use of social and digital media.

She said it was crucial Tourism Waitaki was in a position to encourage international tourists to visit as soon as borders opened.

The document offered little detail about the campaign to attract domestic visitors, but the organisation planned to partner with South Island airports, become more involved with neighbouring councils, and update its website and social media platforms by February.

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