Bluff in spotlight in Southland tourism plan

Ian Collier.
Ian Collier.
Bluff features prominently in plans to encourage visitors to spend more than $1billion a year in Southland by 2025.

Tourism will be employed as a tool to help grow population and social and economic well-being throughout the region, as part of the Southland Murihiku Destination Strategy 2019-2029.

The strategy, developed by regional development agency Great South, sets two goals: to reach $1billion visitor spend by 2025 and to grow overnight visitation to 1.3 million by 2029.

Bluff features prominently among the five ''tier one high-priority investment projects'', which are a Bluff Southern Marine Discovery Centre, Bluff Ferry Terminal Tourism Development Hub, boutique regional accommodation, Maruawai Precinct Development and options for Milford Sound.

At a breakfast held for the strategy launch yesterday,  Great South board chairman Ian Collier said the region represents ''the stern of the waka'', with Bluff Hill being the stern.

''It is not the end of State Highway 1, it's the bloody beginning of SH1 and it's about time everyone understood that.''

Chief executive Ann Lockhart said Great South's ongoing plan was to diversify the economy and assist with the transition to a low-emission economy.

Part of the strategy for economic diversity offered opportunities within the film industry and aquaculture.

The strategy had been funded by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and the previous Southland economic development agency Venture South with support of Community Trust South.

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