28 June 2018
Following the approval of a new Tourism Strategy for Tourism Central Otago (TCO) on Wednesday, Council also approved recommendations for its future governance, membership and management.
The overarching driver of the new TCO strategy is a focus on doubling the value of tourism to the Central Otago economy ahead of doubling the volume of visitor numbers – a 'value over volume' approach.
Council had asked staff to determine how best to structure TCO to deliver on the new strategy with a particular emphasis on developing a structure that:
- supports a stronger working relationship with tourism operators
- increases the commercial value of operator partnerships
- reduces TCO's reliance on council funding
- better leverages council's current investment in tourism
Council agreed that the best option is for TCO to remain as a business unit of Council with the establishment of an external advisory board.
Council also agreed that TCO establish a new membership model to be implemented in the 2019-20 financial year.
There will be no immediate change to staffing other than some minor readjustments of existing roles to better align the team's responsibilities with the delivery of the strategic projects within the new strategy. The establishment of a destination planning and development function within TCO is to be further investigated.
Establishing an external advisory board is an important step in facilitating greater co-investment from the private sector in the promotion and development of Central Otago's tourism industry. Apart from building stronger engagement with the private sector, it will bring new thinking and a broader range of expertise to overseeing the implementation of the tourism strategy.
It will also help to build confidence that the private sector has a voice in the overall direction and decision-making processes of TCO. This will become more important as a new membership structure is introduced.
Mayor Tim Cadogan said: "Tourism Central Otago is doing a great job at leading the industry in our district alongside the operators. This leadership has always been collaborative and inclusive but the time has come for the partnership between TCO and the industry to become much closer.
"I am excited to see the new governance model that will allow that to occur and look forward while Mayor to being part of the development of the model, and the industry, locally."
The process to recruit the new board will begin as soon as possible. Terms of reference are to be developed, followed by a full recruitment process for applications and appointments.
Tourism Central Otago General Manager Glenys Coughlan said that it was rewarding to have the unanimous support of Council for the new strategy and the changes to the TCO structure.
"Central Otago has so much to offer as a visitor destination. There are a number of new developments in the pipeline including the extension of the cycle trail network, the establishment of a touring route that will connect Central Otago with Dunedin and Queenstown, night sky tourism opportunities, wine and food tourism, and developments in the arts and events space. There are also opportunities to create a series of new attractions based on Eden Hore's extraordinary fashion collection.
"We want to stay ahead of the curve and manage the way in which the industry evolves in Central Otago so that we are delivering outstanding visitor experiences while keeping in step with the aspirations of our communities. Our new strategy and structure are designed to shape a future built on creating enduring value," she said.