Tourism plans bode well for Marlborough

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler.
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler.

The Government's decision to put more money into promoting tourism activities such as high-value tourism and cycling should have good results for Marlborough, Mayor Alistair Sowman says.

Mr Sowman talked with Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler at the Trenz conference in Auckland last week.

The take-home message was that there is huge potential for Marlborough to gain more value from high-end tourism, Mr Sowman said.

The high end of the tourism market was performing well and that was where it looked as if Marlborough would get its best returns, Mr Sowman said.

Spending per visitor has been falling in New Zealand and last week the Government announced an extra $158 million in funding to be committed across four key areas of Tourism New Zealand's business: international business events, emerging markets, high-value premium travel and the up-scaling of specific activity in core markets.

Mr Sowman said Mr Bowler saw Marlborough as a luxury destination and the challenge now should be to get the high spending tourists to visit and stay longer.

Both Marlborough wine and the Marlborough Sounds could help achieve that, he said.

"Wine tourism is a distinct area of growth and we have the greatest advantage as the top wine-producing region while the Marlborough Sounds is yet to be promoted to its full potential."

Part of the government message was to put more emphasis on marketing New Zealand's special interest activities, such as cycling and walking, and on luxury experiences, Mr Sowman said, and Marlborough stood to gain from that.

"That will give Destination Marlborough more ability to leverage off Tourism New Zealand's activity, particularly around the special-interest walking and cycling promotions."

The Marlborough Express