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Tourism businesses asked to join fight to protect Kauri

Local tourism businesses asked to join fight to protect kauri

The Coromandel Kauri Dieback Forum is seeking the help of Peninsula tourism operators and accommodation providers in protecting local kauri from the deadly kauri dieback disease, so the natural environment for which the Peninsula is famous for can be enjoyed by future generations.

The Forum is holding workshops specifically designed for the sector in Coromandel town at 2pm on Tuesday 22 September at Anchor Lodge and at 11am on Thursday 24 September at Ocean’s Resort in Whitianga. Everyone involved in a visitor-oriented business, from tourist attractions and activities through to accommodation providers of all types, is invited to attend the informal 1 ½ hour workshops, which will be run by Coromandel Adventures director Sarni Hart and Forum chairperson Vivienne Mclean.

McLean says the tourism and accommodation sector has an extremely important role to play in protecting Coromandel kauri.

“We are asking for help from tourism operators and accommodation providers, because they host visitors who may have visited infected forests in Auckland, Northland and Great Barrier Island but who may be unaware of the risks they pose to local kauri. As hosts and operators our local businesses are in a unique position to inform and to help visitors apply simple but vital hygiene measures before and after visiting Coromandel forests.”

As well as updating participants about kauri dieback disease, each informal workshop will provide practical information about simple hygiene methods and ideas that operators can adapt for their own businesses in preparation for the holiday season ahead. The workshops will be a two-way affair, seeking feedback and ideas from participants about what the sector wants in terms of practical support and information.

“The Coromandel environment underpins the bulk of economic activity on the Peninsula and the active involvement of the tourism and accommodation sector in protecting kauri ecosystems will help ensure these businesses remain sustainable in the long term,” says Sarni Hart.

“To that end we will be asking workshop participants for feedback on an operator accreditation scheme that would identify “kauri friendly” businesses. If the sector sees value in this as a marketing opportunity we will look to develop a pilot scheme, possibly working with the National Dieback Programme. This will encourage visitors to seek out accredited providers using best practice risk management systems, information and cleaning/hygiene facilities for their customers.

“Make no mistake, kauri dieback disease – Phytophthora agathadicida - is a real and deadly threat to kauri of all ages and sizes, naturally occurring or planted, and there is no cure as yet. It has been identified at Hukarahi conservation area in Mercury Bay, in several locations on private land in the Whangapoua catchment and test results are currently awaited for another Peninsula site. If we cannot prevent the spread of this disease and buy time for scientists to come up with solutions, this iconic tree could conceivably become extinct. Everyone in our communities needs to be part of the solution and we’d like our tourism operators and accommodation providers to take this opportunity to learn more, share their ideas with us and with their networks so that together as a community we can keep our kauri standing.”

360 Discovery is an ongoing supporter of the Coromandel Kauri Dieback Forum and actively promotes awareness of the disease. As part of their commitment to preventing the spread of kauri dieback they have donated two return tickets from Coromandel to Auckland to be given away at each workshop.

ENDS

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