Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

City centre needs cultural attraction to entice visitors

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Tauranga's city centre needs a cultural attraction to entice visitors, Mainstreet Tauranga spokeswoman Sally Cooke says. Photo/file
Tauranga's city centre needs a cultural attraction to entice visitors, Mainstreet Tauranga spokeswoman Sally Cooke says. Photo/file

Tauranga's city centre is reaping the benefits of increasing cruise ship passengers - but the CBD needs more attractions to entice visitors, a city centre spokesperson says.

Sally Cooke, Mainstreet Tauranga spokeswoman, today told Tauranga City Council's Monitoring Committee that one of the biggest gains in the last six months was the 52 per cent growth in cruise ship passengers using the city centre express shuttle bus.

Councillor Rick Curach asked if the numbers were up because there were increasing numbers of passengers overall.

Ms Cooke said it was hard to tell as the passengers that came to the city centre were the ones that were not already booked in for tours outside the city.

She said the city centre needed more tourist attractions to bring in cruise ship passengers.

"Just offering them a shuttle to the city centre isn't going to do it."

Councillor Gail McIntosh asked Ms Cooke what attractions she thought the city centre needed.

"I do mainstreet, not tourism, but in my view, it would be fantastic to see more cultural offerings in the city centre that really tell our New Zealand story," Ms Cooke said.

"From what I see, that New Zealand story is very much sought after by international visitors so if we could have more offerings that tell that story, I think we could get more visitors."

Foot traffic numbers on Devonport Rd were up by 11,263 from January to June.

The city centre would be changing greatly in the next five years as the university campus was developed and other businesses moved in. Mayor Stuart Crosby asked if any thinking had been done by Mainstreet members about the changing demographic these changes would bring.

Ms Cooke said Mainstreet was not just about retail and members would like to engage with other stakeholders to work on a strategy.

Councillor John Robson asked about a $562.50 expense for the removal of overhead lighting in Red Square.

The monitoring report prepared by Mainstreet stated the lighting came down during a storm and that no one would take ownership of the lights, therefore Mainstreet took the initiative and removed them due to the safety issue.

Ms McIntosh asked why Ms Cooke thought it would be the council's responsibility to remove damaged lights when they were owned by Mainstreet.

"I think it's a cheap shot. It's poorly worded," Ms McIntosh said.

The report was tabled until next month.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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