Tourism boards back status quo
Lake Wanaka Tourism board chairman Brent Harridge says the organisation works best independently and is against having it amalgamated with other tourism organisations across the district.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council has released a draft economic development strategy with the intention to identify ways to help grow, strengthen and diversify the local economy and provide benefits for the district as a whole.
Proposed actions in the draft include conducting an assessment of the effectiveness of the current split of Lake Wanaka Tourism, Destination Queenstown and the Arrowtown Business Promotion Association, and whether or how they should be integrated.
A report on the plan says, ‘‘There are clear areas of overlap and required alignment between promotional activities related to Queenstown Lakes as a visitor, education and screen production destination.’’
However, organisation representatives disagreed. Harridge said the three organisations believed they operated best independently.
The groups had good communication with each other and worked together, under the Southern Lakes tourism banner, when required.
Lake Wanaka Tourism also met with Destination Queenstown twice a year to make sure projects aligned, he said.
At the Destination Queenstown AGM last week, board chairman Mark Quickfall said the organisation was concerned with the proposal because they believed the current model worked well.
It supported the establishment of the economic plan but ‘‘not at the expense of tourism’’, he said.
Those at the AGM were unanimous they did not support the change and a survey will be sent to members this week to get the views of those who did not attend.
The Arrowtown promotion association has released feedback on the proposal which said it appreciated its success depended on Queenstown’s success but it would contribute more to the region’s tourism if it was allowed to ‘‘get on with doing what it is already doing well’’.
The strategy overview was to encourage higher value visitor activity, facilitate the growth of knowledge-based industries, enhance the quality of the local environment and future proof infrastructure.
Mayor Vanessa van Uden said the draft strategy had put forward several ways that the district could enticehigher value industries and jobs, while leveraging off a top quality environment.
‘‘Everything in the draft strategy is up for discussion, and I hope that people will take the chance to have a good debate about some of the proposals.
‘‘Nothing has been decided,’’ she said.