Elephants in the room’ for QLD's visitor industry
Elephants in the room’ for Queenstown Lakes District’s visitor industry
Questions around bed taxes, visitor volume capping, demand on public infrastructure and balancing community needs have been identified in a district-wide report on tourism.
The community-driven initiative Shaping Our Future has released its first draft report into the Queenstown Lakes District’s tourism industry, after the public visitor industry forums held in April 2014.
Following the forums, a Visitor Industry Task Force, comprising Queenstown and Wanaka residents, was formed to create the just-released report. The task force will share its findings at a public meeting at Queenstown Events Centre on Monday November 17, from 5.30-8.30pm.
Visitor Industry Task Force chairman Mark Edghill says the report identifies several “elephants in the room” that need to be addressed to build a world-class tourism destination by 2030 and protect the quality of lifestyle the community expects.
The task force has generated a compelling vision for the District encompassing visitor experience, quality of life for the community, environment (natural and built), traffic and transport and ‘destination management’ – each with their own challenges.
“It’s important for people to understand the value that our visitors bring and actively engage in decisions around managing visitor growth whilst preserving the environment and lifestyle we are used to. We invite our community to come along and give us their feedback, good, bad or ugly, on our findings.”
The largest gap the task force has identified is ‘destination management’: “We do a good job at marketing this area as a destination, but there’s little coordination in managing the destination itself – environment, infrastructure, community facilities and so on which all impact the experience of the visitor. We’re proposing an independent advisory board to make sure the community’s vision is delivered,” Edghill says.
The report recommends an independent advisory board is established, made up of representatives from the community and experts, to advise Queenstown Lakes District Council and other agencies on the shared vision for the district’s visitor industry.
Following the public forum on November 17, the task force will finalise the report based on community feedback. Shaping Our Future will then present recommendations to Queenstown Lakes District Council and relevant agencies early next year.