Tourism breaking out
although it would keep the KITI name for legal and administrative reasons. Destination Kaikoura was easier to understand and would bring the area in line with other regions such as Destination Marlborough.
Mr Ormsby said RTONZ membership would help Destination Kaikoura have a greater voice in domestic and inbound tourism.
‘‘ We’re a small region, but Kaikoura punches well above its weight when it comes to tourism attractions and activities,’’ he said. ‘‘The product we’ve got is incredible, world class.’’
While some may fear the move could compromise Kaikoura’s close relationship with Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism ( CCT), who until last week was the RTO for Kaikoura, Mr Ormsby says this will not be the case. He has spoken with those involved and said the relationship will continue to grow with other districts, including both Canterbury and Hurunui. It was not about breaking away but rather about strengthening the brand, he said. While CCT had supported Kaikoura well in the past, the new status meant Kaikoura would be able to push the region itself, rather than relying on others.
In terms of statistics, being a separate RTO would have countless benefits as figures would now be able to be drawn out for Kaikoura, rather than being part of Canterbury, which would add real value for operators.
Kaikoura was significantly different in a lot of respects and this was worth highlighting, for example the youth and backpacker markets, he said.
‘‘ The UK visitors and Europeans are also really big for us. The Europeans really are aware of EarthCheck so that just takes us up another notch.’’
The next big market to concentrate on would be the Chinese, he said, who had already started to visit Kaikoura in increasing numbers this year.
Mr Ormsby said the Kaikoura District Council had been consulted on the move and both they and the KITI board, along with the Tourism Advisory Group, saw the merits of becoming an RTO.