We are thrilled to share with operators just some of the progress made on strategic priorities over the first six months of this year:
The finalised Central Otago Tourism Strategy 2018 – 2028 is completed and incorporates the agreed goals and measures that guide Tourism Central Otago’s work plan. The document and supporting research is available to view online.
Several of the short and medium term strategic projects are progressing well, and we'll update you on these below.
Firstly the 'Digital Shopfront' where we have finalised the proposal documentation and will be going out to developers for quote shortly. All going to plan the website development will be underway in the latter half of 2019, with a target completion by the end of the year. Alongside this the new online image library portal is now active, and feedback from users is positive with many telling us how easy it is to use.
The 2019 Eat.Taste.Central campaign which is part of our 'Wine & Food Tourism' project will be launched to operators this week. The Advisory Board has been able to introduce connections that have helped the team confirm additional event partners. Watch out for details soon.
TCO’s connections in the inbound tourism space have also been enhanced by utilising Advisory Board contacts. Work on 'Building our Brand identity' and identifying target markets saw strong and positive discussions with qualified buyers at TCO's IBO and TRENZ 2019 appointments.
Dylan Rushbrook is holding regular meetings with neighbouring RTO’s and industry partners regarding potential partnership opportunities that align with the 'Join the Club'. Of particular note is our 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 commenced this week with regional content in a weekend paper and social media advertisements retargeting interested consumers.
Another key project is 'Eventful Central' to develop the region’s capability and attractiveness as a destination suitable for incentive and smaller scale conference groups. Advisory Board Chair, Sue Sullivan, arranged for i-SITE Manager Nick Lanham, to spend a day at MEETINGS in Auckland which solidified the need to move forward with the development of an events toolkit. When completed this will prove a useful tool for event managers, meeting, conference and incentive travel planners considering Central Otago as a 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.
Lastly under the 'Joining the Dots' project we can confirm 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.
This week we also farewell Nick Lanham from his role as i-SITE Manager, but are thrilled to know he is moving into another part of Council to take up the position of Economic Development Manager. Having someone in such a pivotal role with sound tourism knowledge and understanding is of great value to the region. Our current i-SITE team leaders and Jenny Worth will step up and pick up some of Nick’s current workload until the planned review of i-SITE’s is undertaken and the outcomes and recommendations are known.
The Advisory Board is impressed with how engaged the industry is with the TCO team and thanked both the team and operators for their commitment to ensure a positive future for Tourism in Central Otago.
The next Tourism Advisory Board meeting is planned for 12 September in the Maniototo and the Advisory Board look forward to exploring yet another corner of Central Otago, meeting with more operators and catching up with some they have already met with.