Geraldine tourism plan seen as priority

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 05:00 03/06/2014

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The Geraldine Community Board will seek money for a strategic tourism plan.

Last week's community board meeting decided to ask the Timaru District Council (TDC) to redistribute funds.

The board felt it would be better served to transfer $10,000 set aside by the TDC for a general strategic plan for Geraldine to a tourism plan.

Geraldine ward councillor Kerry Stevens said the community board was in favour of developing a strategic tourism plan.

"Tourism is extremely important in Geraldine ... It's our second biggest industry after agriculture," Stevens said.

He said Geraldine has many people through the town each day and they needed to utilise that effectively.

"There are opportunities every day we need to be taking advantage of," he said.

Stevens said there was a need to strategically focus on town facilities such as the museum, which is run by volunteers and gets 18,000 visitors each year.

He said they need strong direction of how to captivate the audience passing through.

"We need it to make the most of what we have got."

Geraldine Events co-ordinator Jill Roberts said a strategic tourism plan would be welcomed but suggested there were several other things in Geraldine that also needed attention.

"Tourism is very important to the community but there are other things we need. We would benefit from having something such as development of a town area like square. We need a car free zone where we can hold markets," Roberts said.

She said more development needed to be done around the arts in the community and the "amazing" natural environment in the area.

However Roberts said it would be useful for Geraldine to have its own tourism strategy as it was unique within the region.

She said Geraldine's focus should be quite different to the rest of the region.

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- The Timaru Herald

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