Although 2019 started with the news that TCO’s General Manager Glenys Coughlan would resign due to health reasons, it has been an incredibly fulfilling year for all the team. With a new General Manager on board (Dylan), the Tourism Strategy giving us a clear direction and the Tourism Advisory Board up and running – we can honestly say that 2019 has been a great year for team TCO!
As hard as it was to choose just one – here is our list for 2019.
For me the highlight has been seeing the 2018-28 Central Otago Tourism Strategy come to life, and the clarity and direction that has given the TCO team, Advisory Board and council for long term thinking. We’ve seen a genuine increase in interest of Central Otago as a visitor destination and a strong move towards collaboration from inside and outside of the region. This gives me confidence we are moving in the right direction and the future it brings for tourism in Central Otago.
And although I know I am only meant to have one highlight, there was one other special moment this year which needs to be recognized. It was at the New Zealand Tourism Awards where Glenys Coughlan (former GM of TCO) was presented with the Sir Jack Newman Award for her lifetime contribution to tourism in New Zealand. As Central Otago and TCO we have been the benefactor of Glenys’ incredible strategic approach, setting us up for success well into the future.
Seeing and hearing the thoughts from the Eat.Taste.Central judges as they tasted their way through Central Otago. Especially hearing Michael McHugh from MiNDFOOD’s speech at the awards function giving recognition to the quality of all dishes, and his encouragement of young chefs and business owners to be proud of our regional produce and Central’s ability to stand out as a premium destination for Food & Wine.
My highlight is definitely all Central Otago tourism operators – in particular, those I work with regularly in the trade space. There are so many demands running a 365 day business, so I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the fantastic support of our operators in the promotion of Central Otago as a visitor destination. 2019 has been a super busy year on the trade front and operators have been exceptionally generous from; FAMILS, CAMPAIGNS, PRODUCTS plus attending SALES CALLS, TRADE SHOWS and OPERATOR UPDATES. Thank you for your unwavering support this year and Merry Christmas to you and your team, I look forward to working with you in 2020.
Participating in a successful PR and Media partnership with Enterprise Dunedin and Tourism Waitaki. Together we attracted and then hosted targeted Australian travel media through the regions in March. In addition to some great social media coverage posted while they were in region, we also had a series of strong articles published in Better Homes and Gardens, The Courier Mail and 9 Travel.
Feedback received from the writers we hosted was that they really valued the regional collaborative approach which allowed them each to develop content and stories relevant to their audience and that were most importantly new and fresh. Our tourism operators are key to making the most of these opportunities – so I thank you all for helping us share our unique stories.
Seeing the Central Otago Tourism Strategy finalised by the Central Otago Tourism Advisory Board in April and brought to life on the website for the use of all. Closely followed by seeing it downloaded and put to good use by a local promotions group!
Having joined TCO because of the new Strategy, it has been heart-warming to play a role in seeing the final document come to life and be put to good to use. I encourage anyone who hasn’t already, to have a read through and find out more about the future of Tourism in Central Otago.