Har­bour’s po­ten­tial as tourism spot ex­am­ined

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JOE DAW­SON

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.

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