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A new plan for Auckland as ATEED pushes into DM

14 May 2018  By Paul Yandall

Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development will play a bigger part in the management of its visitor economy as it seeks to ensure industry growth across the region is sustainable.

ATEED’s Destination AKL 2025 plan released on Friday showed the agency wanted to be more active in co-ordinating agencies across Auckland and become more of a conduit between industry and government to help address issues in the sector.

Among its ambitions is a desire to activate the region’s night time economy and a proposal to develop a training and employment strategy for the industry. ATEED said it also wanted to improve service standards in the sector across the region.

The strategy is the first major move by a New Zealand regional tourism organisation into destination management.

In a statement released with the plan’s launch, ATEED said Auckland had enjoyed unprecedented growth in visitor numbers.

“This growth is forecast to continue. By 2025, the region is expected to welcome more than four million visitors a year – 58% more than now – creating an estimated $13.9bn visitor economy, up 85% [on the current $8bn per annum].”

Now, the focus was on managing that growth to ensure the industry grew sustainably and for the benefit of the wider community and the environment.

“From an economic perspective, more visitors is good news, but this growth comes with challenges for Auckland’s visitor economy, and Auckland as a whole,” said Steve Armitage, general manager of destination at ATEED.

“To address this, we’ve developed a strategy which will proactively manage the impact of our visitor economy so that Auckland is better off not just economically, but also socially and environmentally.”

The new plan would place greater emphasis on destination management to ensure “future growth in visitor numbers is sustainably managed and of benefit to Auckland, rather than simply attracting greater numbers of visitors”.

Product development could play an important role in the strategy with potential attractions such as the Albert Park Tunnel, an old Mt Eden Prison tour, expansion of the Pasifika Festival, and more Māori cultural experiences all possibilities for the city.

ATEED also wanted to explore if and how attractions such as a marine discovery centre and other all-weather experiences as well as more high-end accommodation across the region could become a reality. It would work to try and improve transport connectivity, wayfinding, bike sharing and walkability in the city.

In terms of destination marketing, ATEED said there was a “lack of a unified Auckland positioning statement which carefully and cleverly explains the unique selling proposition of Auckland and which differentiates Auckland from other parts of New Zealand”.

There was a need to define an Auckland narrative, which ATEED could facilitate.

The plan was accepted by Auckland Council last week with mayor Phil Goff stating: “Destination AKL 2025 is a valuable and timely contribution to the discussion we are having about Auckland’s long-term future and how we tackle key challenges such as population growth, prosperity for all, and environmental degradation.

“Crucially, the strategy acknowledges those challenges and accepts the responsibility everyone – including short-term visitors – shares for addressing them.”

Click here for more information on Destination AKL 2025.

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