Harbour’s potential as tourism spot examined
As a tourist destination the Manukau Harbour is not quite up there with Cathedral Cove or Ohakune’s giant carrot.
But the first stage of a research project into its future as a visitor hotspot has identified some opportunities for development.
Researchers from AUT University’s New Zealand Tourism Research Institute have been commissioned by the Manukau Harbour Restoration Society to explore the recreational and tourism potential there.
The first phase of the project is complete and involved researchers looking into the harbour’s online presence.
‘‘To complete the review we put ourselves in the shoes of someone who knows nothing about the Manukau Harbour and wants to find a way to experience it by searching online,’’ the institute’s associate director Carolyn Deuchar says.
‘‘It was sometimes hard to find information, and some of what we did find could be easily enhanced.’’
The institute is running a series of briefings on the findings.
‘‘At the presentations we will offer useful tips on how businesses and communities can boost their online visibility and make themselves easier to find.’’
In the meantime, researchers want to hear from residents and visitors about the way they use the harbour and would like people to complete an online survey.
‘‘The more people we hear from, the better picture we have of the current experience and the potential that is there.’’
Manukau Harbour Restoration Society chairman Jim Jackson says the more people who get involved in the process the better.
‘‘We are aiming to increase collaboration between organisations and businesses and engage locals in developing the potential of the harbour as a destination.’’
Possibilities: New Zealand Tourism Research Institute associate director Carolyn Deuchar, right, and Manukau Harbour Restoration Society member Bronwen Turner.