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Region to receive support for Cultural Tourism

04 June 2004

Northland region to receive support for Cultural Tourism Plan

Northland is one of five regions to receive Ministry of Tourism support for an initiative to develop its cultural tourism.

Cultural experiences and interaction with New Zealanders are a strong draw card for international visitors. Tourism New Zealand research shows 74 percent of “interactive travellers”, New Zealand’s primary overseas visitor market, are interested in learning about the way of life of people of a different culture. Sixty percent want to visit places that are important to a country’s indigenous history and heritage.

The definition of “culture” also extends to food and wine and arts and crafts, as well as Maori culture and historic buildings and sites.

The Minister of Tourism, Mark Burton, says New Zealand’s cultural tourism needs further development to maximise its potential. “Northland is an established provider of cultural tourism and has been selected as a leading region to receive Ministry of Tourism support to create its own cultural tourism development plan.”

The plan has been created by a steering group coordinated by Destination Northland and including representatives of Tai Tokerau Tourism, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, the Northland Arts Promotion Trust, the Northland Museum Association and tourism operators.

“Northland’s cultural tourism offering is unique,” says Destination Northland chief executive officer Brian Roberts. “The region is the ‘Birthplace of a Nation’, with a distinctive history and rich Maori culture and heritage.”

Mr. Roberts says the plan will help Northland: Increase the quality of its existing cultural tourism products and create visitor demand for those products, and Enhance the region’s cultural point of difference in the tourism marketplace.

A series of stories or themes is to be produced, to enhance the interpretative and interactive experiences available to visitors. Kauri forests and the interaction between cultures as part of Tai Tokerau’s role in early settlement of New Zealand will be the first two themes. One of these will then be selected for further development and marketing.

Tourism New Zealand will coordinate a promotional programme concurrent to the implementation of the Cultural Tourism Plan. This will help tourism operators from Northland and other regions represent their cultural products internationally, raise the marketing capability of the cultural sector and elevate awareness among consumers, trade and media.

Tai Tokerau MP Dover Samuels said Northland was well established as a cultural destination domestically. “Now with the Ministry’s support, the region can further build this reputation in the minds of international visitors.”

“Tourism is one of Northland’s key economic drivers bringing jobs and development opportunities to the region. The cultural development plan is an important tool that sets us apart as an ideal destination for high-yield, high-value travellers.”

ENDS

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