14 June 2019
The Tourism Central Otago (TCO) Advisory Board (the Board) wrapped up its time in Cromwell yesterday after a full day and a half of workshops, meetings and familiarisation visits.
The schedule this week provided the Board with multiple opportunities to engage with the local tourism sector as well as take stock of achievements made since its inception in early 2019. Board members attended TCO's Tourism Operator Workshop held on Wednesday morning, where they enjoyed the opportunity to meet and chat with many local tourism operators from across Central Otago. Together with Judy Chen, CEO of the Tourism Export Council New Zealand, and James Helmore from Lake Wanaka Tourism, Board members Sue Sullivan (Chair) and Mark Frood also joined a panel discussion looking at international and domestic tourism now and in the future.
TCO General Manager Dylan Rushbrook said it had been another valuable opportunity to make connections.
"Given the number of animated discussions taking place around the room at the end of the workshop, it was clear that operators appreciated the opportunity to meet members of the Board and showed the value of holding these meetings around the region."
Following the workshop the Board held its formal meeting where the TCO team provided an update on strategic projects.
"The Board is thrilled to see the progress made on key strategic initiatives identified at our first meetings," said Board Chair Sue Sullivan.
The finalised Central Otago Tourism Strategy 2018 – 2028 is now completed and incorporates the agreed goals and measures that guide Tourism Central Otago's work plan.
The 2019 Eat.Taste.Central campaign will be launched to operators during the week beginning 17 June. This year connections the Board has been able to introduce have helped the team confirm additional event partners.
The Tourism Strategy and the Board have also helped to enhance TCO's connections in the inbound tourism space. TCO's Trade Marketing Manager Andrea Lauder valued the Board's advice and support when reviewing appointments for TRENZ 2019. Although still working through the outcomes from the event, she confirmed that 2019 TRENZ appointments saw strong and positive discussions with those buyers and markets who are the best possible fit for sales into the region.
The TCO team is also making great progress in building stronger collaborative relationships with partners and neighbouring regions. Of particular note is their participation in the Lower South marketing alliance campaign targeting travellers from Queensland. The first component of this campaign has wrapped up and the second phase commences this week with regional content in a weekend paper and social media advertisements retargeting interested consumers.
Another key project is to develop the region's capability and attractiveness as a destination suitable for incentive and smaller scale conference groups. Mrs Sullivan, Board Chair, arranged for Nick Lanham, i-SITE Manager to spend a day at this year's MEETINGS event in Auckland, which solidified the need to move forward with development an events toolkit. When completed it will prove a useful tool for event managers, meeting, conference and incentive travel planners considering Central Otago as possible location to hold their next event. The kit will collate all the information a meeting organiser may require into one single location. For example facilities and venues, accommodation options, support services and more. Work has already begun on this project, and will continue over coming months.
Mr Rushbrook also confirmed the appointment of Rebecca McElrea as the project manager to progress development of the proposed touring route through Central Otago.
"Rebecca completed the original scoping and proposal work on the touring route so we are thrilled to have her on board to take this very important project forward. She will begin a short term contract in July and we anticipate this project will rapidly progress from concept to on the ground action within the next six months."
"The Board is impressed with how engaged the industry is with the TCO team and we thank both the team and operators for their commitment to ensure a positive future for Tourism in Central Otago," said Mrs Sullivan. "The Board's next meeting is planned for 12 September in the Maniototo. We look forward to exploring another corner of Central Otago and meeting with more operators and catching up with others we have already met with."