Visit Ruapehu un­der re­view

Ruapehu Press - - Out & About - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

The Ruapehu District Coun­cil has been re­view­ing the op­er­a­tion of its Re­gional Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion, Visit Ruapehu.

The re­view in­cludes look­ing at what type of struc­ture and ar­range­ment would best pro­vide long term sus­tain­able sup­port for the cen­tral North Is­land tourism and vis­i­tor sec­tor.

Rural dis­tricts like Ruapehu can­not af­ford to self fund the de­gree of in­vest­ment re­quired to pro­mote the tourism sec­tor and pay for the in­fra­struc­ture re­quired to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment and en­hance the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence.

The coun­cil’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment man­ager War­ren Furner said a na­tional con­ver­sa­tion was un­der­way about the fi­nan­cial sup­port re­quired for small ratepayer based re­gions sit­ting on large recre­ational as­sets.

‘‘Ever since Coun­cil was se­lected to lead the un­lock­ing of re­gional tourism po­ten­tial as part of the Ac­cel­er­ate25 (Manawatu¯ -Whanganui) Eco­nomic Ac­tion Plan, we have been strug­gling to prop­erly re­source Visit Ruapehu.’’

Furner said coun­cil has an im­por­tant role in en­sur­ing the Ruapehu econ­omy ben­e­fits from the mas­sive growth in tourism.

This is es­ti­mated by the Min­istry of Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment to reach 4.9m vis­i­tors and $15 bil­lion in spend­ing by 2023.

Growth does not in­clude do­mes­tic vis­i­tor num­bers that are also ex­pected to con­tinue to grow strongly.

Furner said all the po­lit­i­cal par­ties wanted to do more to as­sist re­gional NZ.

‘‘The pre­vi­ous Na­tional Gov­ern­ment has sup­ported MBIE to fund coun­cil to re­search what a new cen­tral North Is­land pro­mo­tional tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion could look like.

‘‘This could see a new tourism en­tity sup­ported with new fund­ing sources tak­ing over the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties cur­rently per­formed by Visit Ruapehu and other cen­tral North Is­land RTOS and agen­cies,’’ Furner said.

The re­search on this new en­tity is due to be com­pleted by March 2018.

‘‘In the short term Coun­cil is look­ing to en­hance the abil­ity of Visit Ruapehu to de­liver against its cur­rent work pro­gramme of pro­mo­tion, part­ner­ship de­vel­op­ment and sus­tain­ing the growth and de­vel­op­ment of Ruapehu tourism,’’ Furner said.

Com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion on th­ese is­sues will be part of next years 2018-2028 Long Term Plan con­sul­ta­tion.

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