Regenerative tourism plan endorsed by councillors

The Queenstown Lakes regenerative tourism strategy is officially under way after the unanimous endorsement by councillors at a full council meeting this week.

This was the final formal step in adopting the region’s destination management plan "Travel to a thriving future", a partnership between Destination Queenstown, Lake Wānaka Tourism and the Queenstown Lakes District Council, with input from Kāi Tahu and the Department of Conservation.

Queenstown Mayor Glyn Lewers told councillors that the most important thing now was for all of them to help drive the plan.

"It’s a visceral drive for me personally and, as the leaders of this district, we have to drive it," he said.

Destination Queenstown chief executive Mat Woods said it was good to have endorsement.

"The Queenstown Lakes District mayor has supported our ambitious goal for the visitor economy to be carbon-zero by 2030 from the outset, and our goal and the regenerative strategy’s been public since late last year.

"... Now it really is time to get on with the 23 projects on the list.

"I’m looking forward to having the governance in place and setting up our project teams."

The strategy’s keystone project is to rapidly cut emissions.

The commitment includes scope 3 emissions — all emissions from air travel and ground transportation.

Preparations for the first initiative are also under way.

Launching in early April, a funding platform will provide the opportunity for visitors and industry to support localised climate, conservation and biodiversity action.