Great South reprioritises goals as focus becomes domestic

Bobbi Brown
Bobbi Brown
Despite the hit to Southland’s goal of $1 billion in tourism revenue by 2025, industry supporters remain optimistic, a Great South representative says.

Last year, the Southland Murihiku Destination Strategy 2019-2029 was developed by the Southland Regional Development Agency and local tourism representatives, with a goal to boost the industry.

Great South general manager for tourism and events Bobbi Brown said before Covid-19, the industry was "well on its way" to reaching the $1 billion goal.

However, there was no denying the $700 million milestone achieved took a hit during lockdown.

Mrs Brown said while some projects would slow down, nothing had dropped off the strategy.

"Our focus has changed to other goals. It’s not so much about the dollar figure now, it’s more about the wellbeing of Southlanders and their businesses."

Projects which would experience slight delays included the Rakiura/Stewart Island Museum and the Langlands Hotel, while porting docks for walking tracks and the Bluff master plan would move up the list of priorities.

"The strategy is still extremely relevant because it already had that domestic market focus," she said.

In the past few weeks, domestic tourism spending had already started to pick up.

Auckland to Invercargill flights resuming in early July would also help the local industry.

"I’m feeling really positive about the future. There’s no doubt it’s been hard for businesses but there’s a lot of innovation coming out of the situation."

Great South’s Rediscover Southland domestic tourism campaign had had "record engagement" online in the past few weeks.

The Government’s announcement it would inject $20.2 million into regional tourism organisations earlier this week had also provided some hope.

"Anything to help push the strategy forward is going to be helpful."


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