Since its launch in December 2019, significant progress has been made on implementing the Southland Murihiku Destination Strategy, a 12-month review released this week shows.
Of the 68 recommendations within the Strategy, six are already complete, and well over half of the recommendations are either in progress or initial investigation is underway.
Great South GM tourism and events Bobbi Brown said Southland was well placed for re-starting tourism because its strategy was developed pre-COVID.
“Because we already had the Strategy in place, the Government supported its implementation with funding through the Tourism Recovery Fund, allowing faster progression of some key projects.
A review of the Strategy post lockdown showed it was still fit for purpose, with just slight changes needed in prioritisation of projects, Mrs Brown said.
“Targeting domestic visitors has been a focus, along with maximising opportunities from the region’s unique selling points and further developing Invercargill as a gateway to the Southland region. Now planning is underway for a Trans-Tasman bubble.”
Invercargill Airport Manager, Nigel Finnerty said that more New Zealanders had found the Southern Region and were heading south “to see our amazing place”.
Since COVID, passenger and visitor numbers coming through the airport had exceeded expectations, which was great for everyone in Southland, so the destination strategy was working well, he said.
“People are making the most of the direct Auckland to Invercargill jet service to access bucket list destinations like Stewart Island and the Catlins, with some areas having their busiest season on record.”
The Strategy was a key priority of the Southland Regional Development Strategy, in recognition of what was at the time, significant tourism growth in Southland.
“The original strategy had clear goals to increase visitor spend and extend length of stay in a sustainable way and this remains a key focus” Mrs Brown said.
The Strategy aligns with the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy and has been developed incorporating best-practice principles of destination management, which requires a holistic approach to planning for and sustainably growing a visitor destination.
Great South will continue to build on this year’s momentum and acknowledges the willingness of key stakeholders and partners working alongside to achieve progress across the region.
For more information please contact communications manager Emma Carle
Phone 027 801 3606