Northland urged to share tourist pie

By Sandy Myhre

1 comment
Paul Davis from Northland Inc.
Paul Davis from Northland Inc.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa is urging Northland's councils to capitalise on the current and projected strong growth in regional tourism.

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said only a fraction of the $81.6 million daily spend tourists bring to the country occurs in tourism-specific places such as hotels and attractions.

"The balance takes place in cafes, bars, supermarkets, petrol stations, farmers markets, vineyards and other local businesses," he said.

The tourism spend in Northland is estimated to be $937 million for the year to June 2016, up 6 per cent compared with the year to June 2015.

TIA has identified eight priority actions for local government over the next two years and, in line with the organisation's Tourism 2025 vision, aims to grow annual total tourism turnover from around $30 billion annually to $41 billion.

They are: destination management; infrastructure facilitation; events programming measuring visitor satisfaction; off-peal marketing; regional development and tourism; enabling airport and port facility development and sustainable tourism positioning.

Paul Davis, from Northland Inc, said since his organisation is funded by the Northland Regional Council, it was closely aligned to the council anyway.

"We have ongoing discussions on marketing, events, infrastructure and delivering programmes all the time," he said.

Tania McInnes, deputy mayor of the Far North District Council and in charge of the council's tourism portfolio, said she backs the TIA suggestion.

"We have discussions with Northland Inc and the Bay of Islands Marketing Group and I agree that we could do a lot more in this area."

TIA is currently conducting seminars around the country, starting in Queenstown on July 12, to discuss regional "challenges and opportunities" with tourism businesses.

The workshops then move to Christchurch, Nelson, Wellington, Rotorua and Auckland.

Northland is not on the itinerary yet, but according to the TIA, the annual regional tourism expenditure for Northland is $223 million from international travellers and a further $714 million as a domestic spend, a total of $937 million.

That total is considerably more than Nelson-Tasman ($194 million) and Rotorua ($711 million).

Rose Northcott, communications specialist with TIA, said they were taking the one-day events to areas "where there is a high density of members".

In 2015 the regional summit was held in Paihia, she said.

Mr Davis said he will have to journey to Auckland to attend the seminar there, "as usual".

- Northern Advocate

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