Hamilton will become the only major city without an i-Site, if the city council decide on Thursday if the current centre should be moved or shut down.

The council had been reviewing if keeping the i-Site, which is a information and tourism centre, open at Garden Place was a sustainable option, after the mayor attempted to close it as part of his 10-year plan proposals in 2017.

The council will decide on Thursday whether to move the i-Site to the ArtsPost Galleries Shop on Victoria St, next to Waikato Museum, or close down the i-Site completely.

If the council decided on Thursday to move the i-site, it would result in the disestablishment of one permanent position and the non-renewal of contracts for six staff currently employed in a fixed term or on a casual basis.


Councillor Paula Southgate said Hamilton must have an i-Site, with the brand so recognisable to international visitors.

"We do need to have an i-Site in some form, somewhere," Ms Southgate said.

"We just can't be the only city in New Zealand that doesn't advocate a tourism agency, people who act as an ambassador for our city.

"That 'i' is visible all over the place. When visitors see that sign, no matter the language, you know you can get tourist information there."

The Hamilton i-SITE is primarily promoted through Tourism New Zealand and the broader iSite network itself. It also offers new resident advice and information, major event support services, event ticketing and sells merchandise (visitor orientated) to help defray its costs.

The staff report says, "Other than visitors attracted through various staged events (sporting and business), Hamilton is not a major visitor destination centre in New Zealand.

"It does however benefit from through traffic within a touring circuit."

"Therefore, for a city of its size the proportion of customer enquiry and selling opportunity is somewhat limited. While council's visitor destinations portfolio (Hamilton Gardens, Waikato Museum and the Hamilton Zoo) attracts visitors from out of town and out of the region."


The council also considered transferring the responsibility of the i-Site to Hamilton and Waikato Tourism.

However, in the staff report it said, "HWT do not see this as a core function to their operation and as a conflict given the wider partnership model across other neighbouring councils that fund HWT. HWT would also require full funding to deliver the service as they hold no spare resource (in money or people) to fulfil the function."

The council also considered transferring responsibility to the Hamilton Central Business Association. This option was not considered viable other than perhaps under a shared office space rental option that would deliver minimal cost saving.

However in the report it said, "The i-SITE mandate falls well outside that of the HCBA focus on Hamilton's central city precinct. Like HWT they also lack the resource required and would need council funding to support the i-Site operation as it does now in any case."