Tasman Retains Tourism Funding
Friday 8 June 2012
Mayor Richard Kempthorne has confirmed the Tasman District Council (TDC) will retain funding for Nelson Tasman Tourism (NTT) in its Long Term Plan 2012-2022 to continue operating the region’s Visitor Centres and provide destination marketing activities for the region. On 24 May 2012 the TDC resolved to seek a strategic review of Council’s ongoing involvement in and funding of tourism activities to be completed by the end of the 2012/2013 financial year.
Mayor Kempthorne acknowledged that some TDC Councillors were questioning the on-going ratepayer funding of NTT, but said that there is no intention of undermining the long-term viability of the Company in the future. “We recognise the role the Company plays in economic development and the support it gives Council’s other companies like the Nelson Airport and Port Nelson with attracting business and visitors to the region. Deciding what activities of Nelson Tasman Tourism are appropriate to be rate funded and finding an equitable basis for that funding is a key issue for Tasman,” he said.
Mayor Aldo Miccio said, “The last year’s outstanding marketing programme, including its role in the RWC2011, clearly showed the organisation is a professional, high-performing and effective agency that contributes to the economic wellbeing of the region. He said, “Tourism was a key regional economic driver which would certainly suffer without the contribution NTT makes.”
Chairman, Phil Taylor says, “We’re pleased with the outcome of recent meetings held with TDC and NCC and welcome the Review. A similar review was undertaken in 1999 by the two councils. The study focused on continued local authority involvement in the promotion of tourism, the perceived economic contribution of tourism to the community and the involvement of the company in the regions visitor information centres. He said, “That review provided a platform of funding and strategic direction that has held the company in good stead until now. We’re confident the new study will support on-going Council investment in destination marketing as a component of economic development.
Mayor Kempthorne summed up the recent meeting. “Tasman District Council recognises the importance of NTT and we look forward to working with Nelson City Council and Nelson Tasman Tourism to achieve a positive outcome for all parties. It is anticipated the Review will be conducted by an external independent agency and be completed by October 2012.”
Tasman District Council and Nelson City Council are joint 50% owners of Nelson Tasman Tourism. It is proposed the Councils’ Joint Shareholders Committee will undertake a strategic review of Nelson Tasman Tourism’s activities to feed into preparation of the ten-year company Strategic Plan and Regional Tourism Strategic Plan 2012-2022. The review will include the region’s four Visitor Centres, identifying and maximising opportunities in the future and alignment of NTT’s activities with Council’s Long Term Plans.
Tourism currently contributes $128million per year to the region’s GDP and $349.5million in visitor expenditure. With upcoming opportunities in cycle tourism, cruise tourism and culinary tourism (supporting the existing creative arts sector and outdoor/adventure sector), we believe continued investment will see the company increase tourism’s contribution to regional GDP and visitor spend. He said it was important to understand Nelson Tasman was in fierce competition with other regions in NZ to get the tourism dollar and without effective marketing many businesses in the region would suffer.
CEO, Lynda Keene agrees a Review has merit. “I believe it will help with raising the profile of our activities and demonstrate more clearly tangible and intangible benefits tourism brings communities. A lot of our work is done with a 12-24month window from commencing activity to seeing visitors on the ground in the region. Visitor markets and trends, booking patterns, new technology and social media channels have changed the way we now market the region. The Review and new Strategic Plan will incorporate these changes and look at innovative ways we remain as a key region on the bucket list for potential visitors.
As a visitor destination, Nelson Tasman is seventh out of 29 regions actively working in this space. When you consider the six destinations ahead of us with total guest nights - Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington, Rotorua, Northland and Nelson Tasman, it is easy to see Nelson Tasman is not on the main visitor route and does not have an international gateway airport. The Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions are just behind Nelson Tasman region. Waikato has a gateway airport and Northland and Bay of Plenty have very active cruise industries. Taking this into account with our geography and accessibility our region does very well. Another new market the region has a lot of potential to capitalise on is film tourism. The region is known as a ‘Lord of the Rings’ film destination and with the recent filming of ‘Kiwi Flyer’ there is opportunity to attract production companies in the future. Over the next few months we hope other film opportunities will result in a new visitor base that will in particular see Nelson City and the Golden Bay area strongly profiled. This is all good news for the future.” She also noted the marketing of the Tasman’s Great Taste Trail and other cycleways in Nelson City which ratepayers were contributing to would fall on NTT.