New vision for future of tourism in Murihiku Southland launched

13 Sep 2023


Tourism is a key diversification opportunity for Murihiku Southland, and is set to grow, with a new strategy sharing the plan for how it will be managed to better serve our communities.

The Murihiku Southland Destination Strategy 2023 – 2029, was launched at a function in Waihōpai Invercargill today and further presentations on the strategy will be held around the region during the next two weeks, on Rakiura Stewart Island, and in Te Anau and Māruawai Gore.

Great South Destination Development Manager Amie Young said the idea of this strategy was to ensure foundations were laid for a more sustainable and regenerative visitor economy, where growth was ultimately of benefit to our people and place.

“What that benefit looks like will be different wherever you go in Southland,” Ms Young said.

“Tourism is so much more than people spending money on accommodation and activities. It brings vibrancy, investment, job opportunities, more events and activities, and opportunity to improve infrastructure.

“We need to develop and manage a tourism industry that contributes to the economic, social, cultural and environmental wellbeing of our people and place.”

Pre-Covid, tourism was the fourth highest earner for Murihiku Southland ($692m) and was on a growth trajectory.

Two scenarios for the return of travel were modelled for this strategy, one with travel limited to New Zealand domestic and Australia, and the other international, and both scenarios show growth is likely.

In addition, 85% of residents surveyed as part of the Strategy development said they wanted to see tourism grow, with the proviso that any growth be well managed, and of those, 30% wanted to see significant growth.

The Strategy review was led by a strategic advisory group, including council, community and industry representatives, with input from mana whenua and Department of Conservation.

It includes 63 projects, with 24 priorities, and recommends project enablers, including the need to establish a tourism leadership group.

The first Destination Strategy for the region was released in 2019 and reviewed 12 months later to reflect the impact of covid.

More than two thirds of the 68 recommendations from that initial strategy were now complete, in progress or under investigation, with wins including the direct jet service between Invercargill and Auckland, Invercargill City Centre re-development, Bluff Motupōhue Tourism Master Plan and the Southland Murihiku Events Strategy, Ms Young said.

Tourism was singled out as a key diversification opportunity for the region in the Beyond 2025 Southland Regional Long Term Plan released at the end of June, along with aquaculture.

You can view the plan here: Murihiku Southland Destination Strategy 2023 - 2029

Further opportunities to find out more about the plan:

Rakiura Stewart Island - Thursday 14 September (part of a Great South update)

Te Anau - Tuesday 19 September

Māruawai Gore - Thursday 21 September

For more details and to RSVP for these events please visit: Official launch of the Murihiku Southland Destination Strategy 2023 to 2029