More support for tourism operators

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Mid Canterbury tourism is set for a shot in the arm after a new round of funding support for Regional Tourism Organisations (RTO).

Some $26.6 million has been allocated to 31 RTOs, including ChristchurchNZ, which is the RTO for Mid Canterbury, to collaborate across regional boundaries to attract visitors.

The funding for the coming year is aimed at supporting local jobs and businesses and keeping up the momentum of economic recovery.

RTOs will work alongside industry reps, community groups, councils and others on destination management plans for how they propose to work together.

Funding, ranging from $400,000 to $1.5 million has been allocated, and ChristchurchNZ has received $1.5m.

Experience Mid Canterbury marketing manager Bruce Moffat said ChristchurchNZ had committed within its investment plan and subsequent draft contract with MBIE to deliver several initiatives that will benefit Mid Canterbury as a destination.

The initiatives sat outside the scope of the three-year service delivery contract just agreed between ChristchurchNZ and Ashburton District Council (ADC), but would be delivered by ChristchurchNZ as the RTO for Ashburton.

The activities were an added benefit to the partnership between the two organisations and not contractually binding.

One of the core deliverables ChristchurchNZ aims to deliver over the next 18 months is a destination management plan encompassing Christchurch, Banks Peninsula, Ashburton, Selwyn and Waimakariri.

The plan is designed to identify the unique brand, opportunities, and challenges specific visitor destinations will have and provide a framework to guide tourism-related activity for central and local governments moving forward.

deep-dive report into the Ashburton District and would follow MBIE’s destination management guidelines, Mr Moffat said.

The full scope was currently being developed and ADC would be briefed throughout the process to understand the process and key outcomes and deliverables.

Mr Moffat said tourism operators in the Ashburton District needed further capability support in promoting themselves to the domestic market, digital sales and marketing, and working with the travel trade and travel agents.

A capability programme would be developed and delivered across the year to support them.

The programme would also look to enhance industry collaboration and district tourism cohesion through networking and Mega-Meets, he said.

Due to reduced cash flow in businesses, local tourism operators had been unable to reinvest in their products or experiences and a product development programme would focus on supporting them with market research and experience development and work to attract new investment.

ExploreCHC, a long-term visitation brand for the central South Island region, and created in 2020 in partnership with the Canterbury regions and Christchurch International Airport, would continue to evolve, with Ashburton and Mid Canterbury at the heart of the creative and brand proposition, Mr Moffat said.

-By Mick Jensen