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“Brilliant” West Coast brand wins EXCELLENCE Award

25 July 2017

“Brilliant” West Coast brand wins EXCELLENCE Award


The staggering success of West Coast Regional Council’s new “Untamed natural wilderness” brand has now seen it win in the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) EXCELLENCE Awards.

Judges described the new brand and new marketing approach aimed at growing the tourism market on the West Coast as a “brilliant initiative”.

The project to develop the brand was announced as the winner of the Crown Fibre Holdings EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development at a gala dinner in Auckland attended by more than 650 delegates from local and central government, and stakeholders, last night. Now in their fourth year, the EXCELLENCE Awards recognise and celebrate the key leadership role that local government plays in communities around the country.

Since the brand was launched in May 2016, the impact on tourism on the West Coast has been dramatic.

West Coast tourism expenditure is up 13.1 per cent ($61 million), compared to 9.1 per cent for the South Island and bed nights have increased by 85,170 between February 2016 and February 2017.

The 0.4 per cent increase in tourism market share, from 5.1 to 5.5 per cent, reversed six years of losses in less than a year.

The need to grow the tourism market was clear following the decline of other major economic sectors on the Coast, and the previous “West Coast of the Southern Alps” was not resonating with visitors.

Following consultation with tourism operators from Haast to Karamea, the brand was adopted.

When feedback from China indicated some concern about the meaning of “untamed” – that it may mean tourists may be bitten by snakes – specific Mandarin translations were developed to explain the brand wording:

• Untamed: a place not crowded which nature created

• Natural: as nature intended

• Wilderness: land not sea, untouched, remote, beautiful, clear and vast

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says the new approach has been rightly lauded for the results it has achieved.

“It has been proved to have made a difference, has been celebrated far and wide and is an incredibly deserving winner of this award,” Mr Yule says.

Judges said the four West Coast councils realised they needed to come together to develop a brand for the region to make sure it was best placed to capitalise on the burgeoning tourism industry.

“They did it smartly and now have a very clear marketing approach which has been recognised by other industries. It is a brilliant initiative with immediate results.”

The winners in the LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards 2017 are:

Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Engagement

• Hutt City Council – Transformation Taita - Aiming to create a brighter future for all young people while building a stronger community, Transformation Taita offers access to facilities, resources and activities to those who need it most.

Highly commended

Queenstown Lakes District Council – QLDC Winter Morning Road Reports - Throughout winter, seven days a week, QLDC provides early morning reports on road conditions throughout the district to thousands of people across multiple communications channels.

• Waikato Regional Council – Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change/Wai Ora: He Rautaki Whakapaipai - Healthy Rivers Wai Ora is a courageous collaborative approach to improving water quality, empowering communities to own the problems - and solutions - in arguably New Zealand’s most important catchment area.

Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award Best Creative Place

• Napier City Council – City Vision: Small City, Big Ideas - This overarching strategy for projects in the City Centre, Ahuriri and the Waterfront areas is guiding Napier to an integrated future where opportunities are seized and the city is both beautiful and memorable.

Air New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Environmental Impact

• Palmerston North City Council – Green Corridors Palmerston North - More than 150,000 native trees have so far been planted as part of this project to connect the Tararua Ranges to the Manawatu River through a corridor of native plants alongside streams and tributaries, improving water quality and bringing birdlife back to the city.

Chorus EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice in Infrastructure Management

• Waikato District Council – Waikato District Alliance - The Alliance is the largest purely roading group in the country, with an integrated team of council staff, contractors and suppliers working together to improve asset management, and renewal and maintenance services to the community – dramatically improving response times.

Crown Fibre Holdings EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development

• West Coast Regional Council – Untamed Natural Wilderness - The West Coast’s exciting new brand has dramatically boosted tourism in the region, and is an ideal antidote to the decline in other major economic sectors that was damaging the social fabric of local communities.

Highly commended

• Rotorua Lakes Council – Rotorua Mountain Biking Strategy - The strategy to establish Rotorua as a globally recognised mountain bike destination has seen visits to the Whakarewarewa Mountain Bike Park increased from 55,000 in 2005 to 250,000 in 2016, with resulting job growth coming from increased investment in retail and support businesses.

• Selwyn District Council – Izone Business Park Development - The Izone Business Park is New Zealand’s largest fully consented and development-ready industrial park with 68 new businesses employing 1,200 people. Another 800 jobs are forecast as development work is completed by land purchasers.

MartinJenkins Judges' Choice Award for Outstanding Value and Service Delivery

• Rotorua Lakes Council – Rotorua Mountain Biking Strategy - The strategy to establish Rotorua as a globally recognised mountain bike destination has seen visits to the Whakarewarewa Mountain Bike Park increased from 55,000 in 2005 to 250,000 in 2016, with resulting job growth coming from increased investment in retail and support businesses.

*ENDS*


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