Fri 31 May 19
Over 70 tourism operators together with representatives from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), DOC and Taupo’s Regional Tourism Organisation joined Mayor Don Cameron and Council economic and community development staff at the Visit Ruapehu industry forum last week.
Mayor Cameron said it was great to see such a strong turnout from Ruapehu’s visitor sector and the involvement of government ministry and regional tourism partners at the forum.
“Attendees heard about the wide range of cooperative activities being undertaken to support sustainable sector growth and improve the visitor experience while protecting our environment and cultural assets,” he said.
“This included updates from Council on the i-SITE network, skills and talent development and the Ruapehu Regional Visitor Development Plan, DOC and MBIE on the Tongariro National Park Spatial Plan, Visit Ruapehu on marketing campaigns, sector performance and new operating model, and RAL on the Sky Waka project and community engagement.
Excitement is building within Ruapehu tourism over the impact the Sky Waka gondola will have with many feeling that the estimated 350,000 yearly visitors it will attract is conservative and could reach as much as 500,000 per annum.
There is no doubt that the Sky Waka is going to be significant not only for RAL but many other operators and businesses who will benefit from the anticipated visitor surge.
The Sky Waka will provide an initial 35 full time jobs building to around 50 over time.
This highlights Council’s support of tourism which provides a pathway for many to enter the workforce and gain important skills and supports our objective of growing jobs, incomes and opportunities for Ruapehu communities and the region.”
Visit Ruapehu General Manager Jo Kennedy said that at the inaugural forum in November last year it was noted that Ruapehu’s visitor sector was expected to continue to perform strongly.
“This has been reflected in our key measurement data such as our Monthly Tourism Estimates which is up 13% year to date vs a National average increase of 7% and the resulting positivity within the sector,” she said.
“Another key point discussed at the November forum was the importance of all stakeholders working together to grow the sector for the benefit of everyone.
Both Visit Ruapehu and Council have been working closely with central government and neighbouring regions which has been key to unlocking opportunities and responding to the pressures from the sector’s growth.
We welcome the adoption by MBIE and DOC of the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy which will see a more active, deliberate and coordinated approach to tourism by government.
We all want to see tourism growth to be productive, sustainable and inclusive and contribute toward improving the well-being of all New Zealanders.
Key to this is the need to continue our work on building meaningful partnerships.
We still have a lot of work to do, and people to bring together, this is a moment in time and I’m not under any illusion that it will be easy from here, but I’m looking forward to the journey,” said Ms Kennedy.