Championing tourism is a skilful balancing act.
The balance between growth and unlocking the best outcome for both the cruise sector and our Coastal Bay of Plenty community is a fine line.
It would be a shame to see our abundant region and growing tourist activities become unsustainable. Especially after being named one of the top-five Australasia cruise destinations in the 2018 Cruise Critic Cruisers' Choice Awards.
Ahead of our biggest cruise ship season to date, we attended the New Zealand Cruise Association 2018 Conference.
Our Cruise Manager Esther Goldsworthy and Head of Visitor Sales & Service Kyle Kydd were reminded of the need for a sustainable approach while ensuring we don’t forget the necessity of manaakitanga and the visitor experience.
How else can we reduce the impacts of seasonality, increase business patronage and bolster the offering of local events?
Only through teamwork between all sectors of the community can everyone benefit.
Statistics New Zealand figures show our region is growing fast, recording the second-largest regional total cruise spending in the year to June 30, 2018, at $65.9 million.
But with growth comes more of a spotlight on the industry.
Which is why it is critical we forward-plan, put the right infrastructure in place, generate community support and promote a sustainable and environmentally-friendly sector.
With more than 320,000 cruise passengers expected this season and millions more domestic and international visitors welcomed throughout the year, the Regional Cruise Gateway and Welcome Hub is desperately needed to enhance the visitor experience and allow the community to reap the benefits.