Tourism boards back sta­tus quo

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By CHE BAKER

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.

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