Cruise-ship plans find favour with islanders
A plan to help the Stewart Island community benefit from cruise ship visits will be rolled out in December.
Last year Venture Southland commissioned research to determine the impact of cruise ships on business, community and infrastructure on Stewart Island and Fiordland.
The research, undertaken by Cruise Strategies Ltd, was to identify opportunities to make the most of the growing cruise-ship industry.
Venture Southland community development team leader Bobbi Brown said the Stewart Island research was not finished but preliminary findings meant a plan could be prepared.
A study looking at the value of cruise ship tourism in Fiordland would not be undertaken until the 2014-15 season.
Venture Southland was focusing on Stewart Island this season because all 16 ships scheduled to visit would stop for passengers to depart, which provided opportunities for island operators.
However, the 81 ships in Fiordland this summer would not be stopping because Fiordland was more of a scenic destination, she said.
The Stewart Island cruise-ship plan received input from Environment Southland and Southland District Council.
Venture Southland was now in the process of working alongside the Stewart Island Community Board and promotions association to discuss the plan.
Initiatives included providing all Stewart Island households with a fridge magnet outlining the cruise ship schedule for the upcoming season, and improving how visitors were welcomed and how they were given information about the island attractions.
"We got astounding feedback. People appreciate just knowing when the ships are coming so they can plan their lives around it," she said.
Transport and infrastructure issues were also considered in the plan, with some ideas and solutions to take longer to implement than others, she said.
A community forum meeting would be held on November 11 for island residents, businesses and tourism operators to discuss how to better meet the needs of cruise visitors and get their feedback.
"It is a good year to trial a few things because we mostly have small ships visiting this year."
Work continued around addressing key infrastructural issues on the island, she said.
Cruise New Zealand deputy chairman and Southland harbour master Kevin O'Sullivan said some infrastructure should be improved at Halfmoon Bay for better landings and to improve safety.
Ships preferred Golden Bay, where there was a pontoon raft that worked well, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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