Council strategy aims to attract more events

Queenstown needs to attract and invest in more events, according to the Queenstown Lakes District Council's latest events strategy, which was adopted by councillors last week.

The council at present allocates $311,054 to events, of which 20% goes to commercial events and 80% to community events.

However, the latest strategy is recommending this amount be bolstered to $565,000 by the year 2017, to safeguard events already running in the district and attract more high-profile events.

Highlighted in the report was the loss of the National Rugby Sevens tournament to Rotorua and the fact other regions were willing to pay for events, in direct competition with the lakes district.

The report stated, and Cr Russell Mawhinney agreed, that the QLDC could not rest on its laurels.

''We can't take it for granted we are always going to have the PGA or that we are going to get something out of the Cricket World Cup. I think we need to be more event-friendly.''

The intention of the strategy, which will run over the next 10 years, is to guide growth, development and delivery of events to the lakes district.

The council aim to establish a ''recognised centralised advisory, co-ordination and facilitation service'' for event producers to approach directly.

This would be part of the new council events office.

The council published an events strategy in 2009. However, there has been little significant change in its support for events and a lack of clear authority to co-ordinate events in the region.

Key elements to failure in events highlighted in the report were lack of investment from the public sector, organisational inefficiency, sponsorship shortfalls, lack of clarity in the council's role and a general lack of major national and international events.

Cr Simon Stamers-Smith also pointed out that the region often timed events poorly, meaning they competed with one another, such as this week's Autumn Festival and Festival of Colour, in Arrowtown and Wanaka respectively.

''It seems absurd to have the two of them in one week. They are essentially in opposition with one another.''

Mayor Vanessa van Uden agreed event organisers needed to ''play ball' more often with each other in order to draw the crowds.

The strategy was adopted on Friday.

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