Jobs go as Auckland visitor centres close

Last updated 14:41 12/11/2012
Skytower
JOHN SELKIRK / Fairfax NZ
PRETTY SIGHT: Five tourist information centres are to close in Auckland.

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Five visitor information centres in Auckland are to shut with the loss of 20 full and part-time jobs. The centres are to close in Takapuna, Orewa, Pukekohe, Kumeu and Bombay.

Last month Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development announced plans to restructure its i-Site visitor centres after reviewing the 12 it inherited from former legacy councils two years ago.

They signalled five centres were likely to close as a result. If the centres remained open, ATEED said they would lose about $2.7 million over the next four years and so will close on December 14.

ATEED chief executive Brett O'Riley said the affected staff would be given "redeployment priority" for suitable and current roles within his organisation and it would work with other council linked groups to help find them work.

The remaining seven visitor centres at Auckland airport's international and domestic terminals, SkyCity, Princes Wharf, Waiheke Island, Warkworth and Devonport will remain, with ATEED looking to improve their performance.

O'Riley said ATEED would work with Local Boards and tourism operators to help fill the void caused by the closures.

"We intend developing a new commercial model for these areas possibly involving local Auckland Council assets such as service centres and libraries and greater use of technology, along with possible partnering with the private sector," he said.

According to the latest Tourism New Zealand visitor experience survey, tourists were accessing key tourism information and making bookings on their own devices, with smartphone use up 65 per cent in the last year and iPad use up 19 per cent.

The same survey showed i-Site use had dropped 27 per cent in the past two years.

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