Plans to encourage Southland’s continued tourism growth have received a significant boost with the launch of the Southland Murihiku Destination Strategy.
The Strategy, which was unveiled today by Great South, is set to provide a blueprint for Southland’s future by identifying the areas of opportunity that will lead to increased visitation and tourism revenue.
Great South Chief Executive Ann Lockhart said with the launch of the Strategy, Southland was now in the driving seat to shape its development and establish itself as a preferred visitor destination.
“The Strategy will provide the strong foundation needed to grow the visitor economy in alignment with social, cultural, infrastructural and environmental considerations – all of which are pivotal to the region’s future success,” she said.
The strategy has identified two bold goals; to reach $1 billion in visitor spend by 2025 and grow overnight visitation to 1.3 million visitors by 2029.
Ms Lockhart said these goals would be at the forefront of regional planning and would play a strong role in establishing Southland as a distinct visitor destination and sought after place to live, work and invest.
The development of the strategy was initiated following a recommendation from the Southland Regional Development Strategy and involved Stafford Strategy – the agency commissioned to develop the strategy – carrying out extensive consultation and research across the region.
As a result of this work, the Strategy has identified over 60 actions that relate to one or more of the five components of destination management; product development, infrastructure, governance, sustainability and marketing and promotion.
Consultant Albert Stafford said the Strategy’s vision and recommendations highlighted the importance of a sustainable approach to tourism that is based upon community and Iwi support.
”Whilst the Southland region includes some of the most stunning natural environments in New Zealand, this Strategy has been developed to ensure there are the tourism and recreational products, amenities, infrastructure and support needed to achieve visitor growth, and more importantly, stronger visitor spend,”
While Great South will play an overall coordination role in the implementation of the strategy, Ms Lockhart said its overall success will rely upon a collaborative approach with local and central government, key stakeholders, operators and members of the tourism sector all playing a pivotal role.
“We appreciate the work of Stafford Strategy, members of the Advisory Group and all those who have provided feedback to this strategy, it’s now time to maximise Southland’s tourism potential, leverage opportunities for regional growth and cement our position as a preferred visitor destination for years to come,”
The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment allocated funds towards the development of the strategy, with support also provided by Community Trust South.