9 Apr 2017

Hopes Hurunui tourism shake-up will lead to more visitors

9:22 pm on 9 April 2017

Tourism leaders and operators in Hurunui are hoping a shake-up of how the region markets itself will lead to more tourists visiting the district.

Cathedral Cliffs at Gore Bay in the Hurunui district.

Cathedral Cliffs at Gore Bay in the Hurunui district. Photo: 123RF

Tourism currently contributes around $150 million to Hurunui's economy every year and while total tourism expenditure in the district increased by 6.7 percent in 2016, Hurunui Tourism spokesperson Shane Adcock said the growth was lower than the national average.

The Draft Hurunui District Tourism Strategy 2017-2022 was released this week for submissions and is open until 27 April.

Shane Adcock said the shake-up of how the district markets and manages itself had been planned for before the Kaikōura earthquake which has dramatically impacted on the tourism flow in the region.

"We took a hit immediately after the earthquake. Some parts of the district did bounce back quickly but some parts have struggled and will be for some time.

"With the roading situation [the quake-damage to State Highway 1] certain areas like Cheviot has had a definite downturn in business that is exacerbated by the fact the roading situation won't change in the near future but other places like Culverden have benefited by the roading situation.''

Prime Minister John Key meeting Hurunui council and civil defence officials.

John Key, who was Prime Minister and Tourism Minister, at the time of the Kaikōura earthquake meeting with Hurunui council and civil defence officials. Photo: Pool / Nick Perry / AP

Hurunui Mayor Winton Dalley said the draft strategy shifts Hurunui Tourism's focus from destination marketing to destination management.

"This would better position Hurunui Tourism to proactively grow tourism product, support operators and more directly attract visitors to our region. It has my whole-hearted support."

Hurunui Tourism Board chairperson Janice Fredric said the new direction would ensure the district made the most of the current opportunities in tourism.

She said the record numbers of international visitors arriving in New Zealand presented a huge opportunity.

"Hurunui's tourism sector currently relies on visitors from domestic markets, particularly Christchurch.

"Our international numbers are increasing but we know we can grow them even more.

"To do that Hurunui needs to do two things ... develop our destination and actively sell what we have to offer. Developing our destination means collaborating with key stakeholders to establish new product, attract new investment and support new ventures, events and conferences."

Mayor Winton Dalley said the overall goal was to increase the number of reasons visitors had to come to Hurunui.

"If we do that, we'll grow both domestic and international visitor numbers which is good for our businesses and for our communities."

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