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Destination Marlborough 5 Year Strategic Plan

Media Release
6 July 2005

Destination Marlborough 5 Year Strategic Plan Released

Destination Marlborough today released its first five year Strategic Plan at a tourism industry meeting in Picton.

Highlights include a vision for a new Blenheim Visitor Centre, working more closely with the regions’ wine and food industry, developing a closer relationship with neighbours Nelson and placing more emphasis on growing the conference and event markets.

Destination Marlborough Chairman Trevor Hook says that the plan has been produced in response to forecasts of continued growth in the tourism industry in coming years and clearly sets out the organisations vision for the future.

“Destination Marlborough has made significant progress in the past few years and is now well positioned to take advantage of the heightened level of awareness of tourism in Marlborough. It’s important that we have clarity of purpose for the future to ensure we have the ongoing support of the tourism industry here in Marlborough as well as Council and the community.

“By 2010 total visitors are expected to increase by 16% from today to 1.2 million, an average annual growth rate of 2.1%. Total visitor nights will increase 18% to 2.5 million, and most importantly visitor expenditure will grow 54% to $320 million,” said Mr Hook.

Mr Hook points out that these figures are drawn from the Tourism Research Council of New Zealand, the country’s national tourism research body, and are not local predictions.

“Historically they have a good track record for producing accurate forecasts as they take a global perspective and apply it regionally. What’s particularly interesting is that growth from domestic visitors is likely to be less than 1% annually whereas international visitor growth will be over five times as great.”

Mr Hook says that in addition to these forecasts a number of other national and regional strategies have been reviewed to ensure Marlborough is on the right track.

“We’ve tapped into the New Zealand Tourism Strategy at a top level and also aligned ourselves with the Sustainable Tourism Strategy for Marlborough, a wonderful body of work undertaken a few years ago that clearly identifies our strengths and opportunities.”

The strategy focuses on traditional areas of work undertaken by Destination Marlborough including domestic, international, conference and event marketing as well as brand and communication activities. It also provides an insight into other areas that are becoming more important for Regional Tourism Organisations to tackle including product development, research, advocacy and environmental planning.

Key parts of the strategy to be accomplished by 2010 include:

Visitor Centres

· An alternative site for a new Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Centre will be sought to alleviate problems associated with the current location. This should feature improvements for visitors and local tourism operators and provide a welcoming environment with enhanced interpretive facilities to inform and encourage visitors to stay longer, ideally incorporated with a Regional Wine Centre. Co-located offices of Destination Marlborough and other regional agencies could be included in the facility.

· Future options will also be investigated for a new Picton i-SITE that may involve a new location closely linked with proposed town centre developments and satellite centres at ferry terminal locations to better serve arriving visitors.

Conference & Event Marketing

· Development of collective marketing will be encouraged with key venues and service providers with the eventual formation of a Marlborough Convention Bureau. The recently announced development of a new Blenheim Conference Centre will require additional funding for the marketing of Marlborough as a destination to ensure the centre is viable and Destination Marlborough will actively seek increased funding for this purpose from Council and the private sector.

Partnerships

· A key regional partner with which we share many common objectives is the Nelson District, and our aim is to develop closer linkages with partners in this district, particularly the Nelson Regional Tourism Organisation (Latitude Nelson). Closer cooperation with other non-tourism Marlborough partners will assist in the further development of the Marlborough brand. The wine industry appears to offer the greatest opportunity for cooperation and leverage to the advantage of both sectors.

ENDS


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