BOP tourism gets funding boost
Tourism Bay of Plenty will become the first Regional Tourism Organisation in New Zealand outside Auckland to become a Destination Manager, after a 48 per cent boost in council funding.
The $620,910 increase, approved in Tauranga City Council’s Long Term Plan, brings Tourism Bay of Plenty’s combined annual funding from its three contributing councils— Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Whakata¯ne District Council— to $1.9m.
Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne says the funding increase puts the organisation at the forefront of the Destination Management movement in New Zealand.
She applauded both the Tourism Bay of Plenty Board of Trustees and Tauranga City Council for their foresight in championing and supporting what was a “sea change” for the tourism industry.
“We are fortunate to have such a progressive and passionate board and councils which recognise the potential this region has and the significant role we play in assisting its development.
“Thiswill enable us to become an insightlead organisation that knows who our visitors are and what theywant— vital information to sustainably champion tourism growth regionally.”
Destination Management, a trend worldwide, is the strategic and sustainable management of visitor-related development, co-ordinated with residents’ interests, to preserve a region’s unique identity. It brings stakeholders together and provides them with the tools to work collaboratively to meet the demands of growing numbers of visitors.
In essence, it means sharing our love of “our place” with theworld to the betterment of the community, not against it, saysMs Dunne.
Tourism IndustryAotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts says of the 31 regional tourism organisations in the country, Tourism Bay of Plenty has had one of the biggest, if not the biggest, funding boosts.
They are also among the first RTOs to make Destination Management a clear priority in their long-term planning, he adds.
“Tourism Bay of Plenty has succeeded in getting the backing of their council funders because they have a great plan and vision, which has been shaped by extensive consultationwith local and national stakeholders.”
The boost bucks a funding cut trend, with Tourism New Zealand’s government funding reduced from $117.3m a year to 111.4m in the latest budget, while Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Long Term Plan includes a proposal to cut Hawke’s Bay Tourism funding by $1.8 million over three years.
Thismeans Tourism Bay of Plenty now has the ability to shift the focus of the organisation from not just attracting visitors to the Coastal Bay of Plenty (which stretches from Waihi Beach to the Whirinaki Forest) but to better manage their experience once they get here.
“With the additional funding we will be able to implement our Visitor Economy Strategy 2018-2028, growing tourism in away that is both economically and environmentally sustainable.”
Visitors spent a record $1 billion in the Coastal Bay of Plenty last year— a milestone that was originally not forecast to occur for another 12 years. This figure is expected to grow to $1.45 billion by 2028.
“A thriving visitor economy that is well planned and managedwill bringwith it greater social amenities and higher living standards. In short, we all stand to benefit,” says Ms Dunne.
Regional Tourism New Zealand executive officer Charlie Ives commended Tauranga City Council for signalling its long-term commitment to tourism in the Bay of Plenty.
“It is important that regions anticipate the pressure of tourism before it’s too late.
“We are already seeing early indicators in some areas, such as overcrowding and a lack of accommodation. These are warnings of the impact tourism can have on us if we don’t have a planned, developed and managed approach,” says Mr Ives.
“Destination Management is undoubtedly the way forward, and we will be watching Tourism Bay of Plenty’s progress with interest.”
We are fortunate to have such a progressive and passionate board and councils which recognise the potential has.’ this region
Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne.
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