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Regenerative tourism a focus for Queenstown Lakes District

Friday 25 March 2022 2:33pm

The Queenstown Lakes District Destination Management Plan aims to include regenerative tourism practices by 2030.

Lake Wānaka Tourism General Manager Tim Barke gave the first update on the management plan since its inception in 2020 at the University of Otago’s Tourism Policy School yesterday.

The plan was introduced as part of the Government’s response to how the pandemic was challenging the tourism industry.

These regenerative tourism practices are sustainability efforts that will enhance both the visitor economy and local communities by giving locals an authentic voice in shaping their future, using economically sustainable and agile leadership, and embracing change by learning from the past to plan for the future, Mr Barke says.

The change is the result of significant consultation, including stakeholders from a range of sectors, more than 50 interviews, community forums, involvement in the “Quality of Life 2021” survey, and panel discussion at the WAO Summit, a community non-profit set up to educate, inspire and enable New Zealand communities to move towards a regenerative future.

This collaboration reveled the importance of manaakitanga (mutual respect), whanaungatanga (close connection between people), supporting local, and equally sharing kaitiakitaka (guardianship) of communities.

“Prior to COVID‑19, tourism was booming in the district with roughly 50 per cent of full-time jobs within the sector, the local accommodation and food sector growing by 149 per cent between 2000 to 2020, and 44 per cent of the district’s GDP coming from tourism by the 2020 year-end,” Mr Barke says.

“However, change came when the pandemic disrupted travel patterns, technology evolved, the climate crisis recommended a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 by 2030, and when societal expectations shifted as consumers demanded more ethical tourism; we had to change the way we were doing things.”

University of Otago Associate Professor Susan Houge Mackenzie, from the Department of Tourism, says having multiple agencies involved was critical to regenerative thinking as this approach needs to be cross sector.

“A regenerative approach to tourism needs to be fundamentally holistic and so it’s wonderful to see partnerships and whānaukataka [reciprocal relationships] highlighted as key values in the Queenstown Lakes District Plan,” Associate Professor Houge Mackenzie explains.

“Focusing on community well-being and fostering meaningful connections with visitors is central to rebuilding and regenerating tourism destinations across Aotearoa; concentrating on capacity and capability will be critical to achieving the aspirations of this plan.”

The fourth annual University of Otago Tourism Policy School is a two-day event bringing together a wide array of policymakers, business leaders, industry organisations and tourism academics to discuss key challenges and opportunities confronting the New Zealand tourism industry.

This year’s theme is “Structural Change for Regenerative Tourism”, reflecting the view of the Minister of Tourism Hon Stuart Nash that structural change is required to rebuild tourism for the 21st century, following the global pandemic.

For more information, contact:

Tim Barke
General Manager, Lake Wānaka Tourism
Tel +64 3 443 1574
Email gm@wanaka.co.nz

Associate Professor Susan Houge Mackenzie
Department of Tourism
University of Otago, Dunedin
Tel +64 3 479 4293
Email susan.hougemackenzie@otago.ac.nz

Molly Houseman
Communications Adviser, Media Engagement
University of Otago, Dunedin
Mob +64 21 279 5016
Email molly.houseman@otago.ac.nz