Our local economy has been hit hard — especially over the lockdown period.

We are all aware of the significant impact on the tourism sector by this pandemic. With the closure of our international borders and a freeze on inter-regional travel over the last two months, our local community is critical to the survival of our tourism businesses across the region, including our cafes, restaurants, accommodation and activity operators.

Visitors spent over $680 million in our region last year and the industry employs over 35 percent of our local workforce, making tourism a significant contributor to the local economy.

Of that total spend, over 30 per cent was by international visitors. Unfortunately, it will be some time before our international borders reopen, which leaves a large revenue gap for the region.


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As a result, we need to not only encourage our locals but also our neighbours to explore and reconnect with our beautiful region. With the ability to travel inter-regionally at alert level 2, Destination Great Lake Taupō will be rolling out a campaign over the coming weeks which will target our key source markets of Auckland, Wellington, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay.

This will be running for an extended period and will look to attract visitors for a short break weekend of relaxation and rejuvenation, for a school holiday staycation or the chance to come together not only with their friends and family but with their outdoor passions such as fishing, biking, hiking, skiing (hopefully) and adventure.

Our upcoming campaigns play on our central location (as the perfect gathering place), our stunning natural environment and the stories and characters that make our region the place we all love.

We recognise this recovery will be a slow, hard grind but we are possibly more fortunate than some regions.

We already have a strong domestic visitor base and a well-deserved reputation as an iconic Kiwi holiday destination. We are centrally located in the heart of the North Island, we have an abundance of world-class natural assets, (which we know people are yearning for right now) a vibrant and welcoming community, and an incredibly passionate group of tourism operators who deliver an exceptional experience for our visitors.

If we want to safeguard this reputation and the social and economic benefit that comes from it we need to ensure we preserve our assets, our jobs and our businesses so that we can continue to share the essence of who we are to visitors of the future.

Every dollar spent within the community keeps cash flowing through our local economy and will help these businesses keep operating when we come out the other side.

Sunset at the #LoveTaupo sign. Photo / Sandy Gibson
Sunset at the #LoveTaupo sign. Photo / Sandy Gibson

So never has there been a better opportunity for our local community to show their love and support for each other. The recently-launched @LovethisPlaceTaupōDistrict campaign is all about rallying pride in the place we love.

It's about a changing mindset that wherever possible we need to shop locally, we need to order or buy our food and beverages from local suppliers, and now we have more freedom to explore our back yard, we need to spend our holiday budget on the experiences within our region that we have always said "we must do that one day".

@LovethisPlaceTaupōDistrict is calling on the community to share their stories and tell us how they are adapting to this new world we live in. It's about creating a community that will support each other so we all get through this in one piece!

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