Visit Ruapehu Forum a success
Over a 100 people representing Ruapehu tourism operators and other businesses benefiting from the visitor sector filled the conference venue at the Tongariro Chateau yesterday as part of the Visit Ruapehu Forum and AGM.
The Forum heard from a range of speakers including Mayor Don Cameron, Council economic development staff, key operators and township business organisations about the impact of Ruapehu’s growing visitor economy and their confidence for the future.
Ruapehu Mayor Don Cameron said that the overwhelming message was that the Ruapehu visitor sector is performing strongly and is expected to continue to do so.
“The key takeaway for Ruapehu businesses, iwi and communities wanting to grow the market and take full advantage of the opportunities this presents is for more communication, cooperation and coordination between all stakeholders.
“The importance of everyone working together cannot be overstated” said Mayor Cameron.
“For the last few years Visit Ruapehu has been working with like-minded local, regional, national and government partners such as Tourism NZ, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL), Taupo and Rotoura Councils, Auckland International Airport, Air NZ, Kiwi Rail and others to promote the Ruapehu region.
In some cases this has meant working with partners that historically would have been seen as competitive to Ruapehu such as other Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs).
While some decisions have been controversial such as our support for joint venture tourism marketing campaigns and the new Whakapapa Gondola project the results backed by official accommodation and spending data clearly validate this approach.
This strategy has been central to Ruapehu successfully gaining announced government funding support for key projects of over $15.3m* toward key infrastructure projects over this period.” (*$5.3m council infrastructure + $10m from government toward RAL gondola)
Mayor Cameron added that he hoped that the Forum would go some way toward addressing some of the misinformed comments on tourism that keep popping up despite all evidence to the contrary on the benefits the Ruapehu visitor sector is delivering.
“The hard data shows that the Ruapehu visitor sector is 'punching above its weight' and Council is committed to ensuring that it continues to do so,” he said.
“We cannot however afford to let complacency hold us back with many significant changes and developments on the horizon such as iwi co-governance arrangements and new technologies.
Council would like to invite all stakeholders in our visitor sector to work constructively with us and others in helping to maintain our current momentum and the positive impact our visitor economy is having on the growth of jobs, incomes and investment and opportunities.”