Regional focus comes at a cost

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 05:00 11/03/2014

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The decision to promote only tourism operators from the region in South Canterbury's visitor centres has lost Aoraki Development Business and Tourism (ADBT) $9000 in revenue, but only temporarily, it believes.

Until last year visitor centres in the district were charging tourism operators from outside the region to display their brochures, and taking a small commission from any bookings made for those operators.

ADBT chief executive Wendy Smith said it had changed the strategic focus to only accommodate tourism operators promoting the district, as looking after the region was what it was required to do by the Timaru District Council, which funded ADBT.

"Staff were spending 80 per cent of their time selling activities outside of the region," she said. "We are bringing the focus back to South Canterbury. We are funded to promote South Canterbury."

Mrs Smith said a regional focus had also been brought into the retail side of the operation, with all souvenirs being sold now having to promote the area.

"We don't mind if they are made elsewhere as long as they promote how great the district is," she said.

Mrs Smith said she believed the new regional focus was a short-term loss for a long-term profit for the region and its businesses.

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- The Timaru Herald

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