North Shore Times : January 24th 2013
www.northshoretimes.co.nz 12 NORTH SHORE TIMES, JANUARY 24, 2013 NEWS Taking tourism further By SCOTT MORGAN Graeme Osborne Scenic gem: Lupins fringe the dunes at Omaha, one of the Matakana region's ''scenic gems''. Top destination: Celebrity chef Farah Quinn shops for fresh produce at Matakana Market, one of the area's attractions. Getting more inter- national tourists to visit the regions outside cen- tral Auckland is going to take time, an expert says. Mayor Len Brown wants to double the industry s earning poten- tial in Auckland from $3 billion to $6b in the next decade. Former Auckland Tourism chief executive Graeme Osborne says Mr Brown s vision is achievable. But getting more of those dollars into the south, west and north of the city isn t going to happen over- night. Now associate dean at the Manukau Institute of Technology s school of business, Mr Osborne says much relies on the Chinese market expand- ing beyond present short-haul tours. Historically we have been reliant on tra- ditional markets like the United Kingdom, United States and Japan. Now China is more of a player in that space. But Chinese visitors spend much of their trip on the Auckland- Waitomo-Rotorua route, which limits their time in Auckland mainly to the central city, he says. Once more Chinese start visiting Auckland independently that could change, he says. Another problem is a lack of transport con- nections from the central city to outlying areas with tourist numbers not high enough to justify shuttle services in the short term. At some stage some- one has to bite the bullet and say how do we develop this as a future project? Local government could play a role in fostering those con- nections and there could also be a case for a local- ised marketing spend that highlights those regional gems . Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development tourism manager Jason Hill says it promotes specific parts of Auckland to different tourist markets. At this stage Chinese tourists are more likely to spend time in the city centre, shopping and eat- ing, while Germans, Aus- tralians and Americans travel more widely around Auckland, he says. Natural gems such as Clevedon, Matakana and the Waitakere Ran- ges give tourists a reason to stay longer, while bas- ing themselves in the central city, he says. It provides us with a point of difference. Mr Hill says Auckland Transport is working hard on developing bet- ter public transport services but putting together options like shuttle services is largely up to the private sector. Mr Brown says tour- ists are yet to experience the full beauty Auckland has to offer. First he wants to lift the number of visitor nights people stay for. The aim is to get peo- ple to stay in the city three or four nights, not one and a half. He s also unapologetic about concentrating on improving the city centre before other parts of Auckland.
January 22nd 2013
January 25th 2013