After decades of no growth, Central Hawke’s Bay is growing again. The Council and the community wanted to manage this growth to maximise the opportunities and manage potential community, character and economic impacts. The Central Hawke’s Bay District Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan had identified an opportunity to increase the visitor component of the district’s economy. Central Hawke’s Bay District Council asked Veros to create a Destination Management Plan that positioned the Central Hawke’s Bay to maximise visitor opportunities and prosperity while protecting the district’s communities and places.
Destination Management Planning considers the management of all aspects of a destination that contributes to a visitor experience. It was a multi-stakeholder process that was locally driven, considering the social, cultural, economic and environmental needs of the community as well as the drivers for the visitor economy. It involved understanding the district’s unique visitor proposition and the opportunities to capitalise on it, as well as the challenges facing its sustainable growth.
The Destination Plan and Needs Assessment provides the district visitor stakeholders with a clear plan to deliver their aspirations to increase the value and volume of visitors without impacting on what locals value. Meeting the goal ‘to create a place that locals are proud to call home and visitors remember as one of the best trips ever.’ The Plan identified a series of priority actions and opportunities to focus on. For a small community, this means resources can be wisely allocated to effect real change.
One of the biggest challenges during the project was the impact of COVID-19 and the need to crystal ball gaze into a COVID-19 and post COVID-19 visitor world. Predicting the importance of domestic tourism as Tourism NZ turned their focus to the domestic market. This aligned well with who was already visiting Central Hawke’s Bay and opportunities to invite domestic visitors from further afield to discover Central Hawke’s Bay as research emerged showing people were seeking new places to visit with new experiences.
As part of their work, our team were thrilled to visit and learn the story behind Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu! And on a more serious note, the team were proud to be able to work with local stakeholders to develop an implementable, aspirational and focused plan to develop an authentic, respectful and resilient visitor economy.