Grant Bradley

Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Smartphones spell end for five i-SITEs

The closure of visitor information sites shows a surge in smartphone and tablet use by tourists. Photo / Supplied
The closure of visitor information sites shows a surge in smartphone and tablet use by tourists. Photo / Supplied

Research released by Auckland's tourism body to support the closure of visitor information sites shows a surge in smartphone and tablet use by tourists.

Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (Ateed) has confirmed that five i-SITEs located at Orewa, Takapuna, Kumeu, Pukekohe and Bombay will close on December 14 with the loss of 20 fulltime and part-time positions.

Chief executive Brett O'Riley said the tourism market was changing rapidly, both in the mix of visitors and in the ways they accessed information before they left home and when they were in the region.

The latest Tourism New Zealand visitor experience survey shows laptop and iPad use by visitors to get information was up 19 per cent and smartphone use was up by 65 per cent in the past year.

The survey also shows that i-SITE use was down 27 per cent in the past two years.

"In essence, these five i-SITEs are no longer fit for purpose and are expected to lose around $2.7 million over the next four years, so we intend developing a new commercial model for these areas, possibly involving local Auckland Council assets such as service centres and libraries and greater use of technology, with possible partnering with the private sector."

- NZ Herald

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