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Kāpiti Coast has 60 new ideas for attracting more visitors

News from Kāpiti Coast District Council
The Council has adopted a new Destination Management Plan to help attract more visitors to our district.

Drawing on extensive engagement with iwi, local partners, and sector stakeholders, and research by Colmar Brunton, the plan provides a strategic framework and over 60 key actions to help increase the number of visitors to the Kāpiti Coast, their length of stay and their ability to spend more while here.

Developed by TRC Tourism – a leading tourism, recreation and conservation planning consultancy, in partnership with Council and the Economic Development Kotahitanga Board, the plan looks at how we should manage all aspects of our district that contribute to a visitor’s experience – whether they’re visiting for business, a holiday or to study, or moving in. This includes things like transport links, infrastructure and accommodation.

Business and Jobs portfolio holder Councillor Angela Buswell says she is excited for the district to have a plan with clear achievable actions and is looking forward to seeing the same energy and collective effort that went into the development of the plan continue throughout its implementation.

“What I really love about this plan is that it’s balanced. It summarises what’s good about our district, and what we need to work on. It’s a mix of what we know and new research and it’s been pulled together to form a pathway to reaching our destination potential.

“It also defines our Kāpiti destination aspirations so that the things we value the most as a community, like sustainability and protecting our environment, are prioritised throughout.

“We’re proud that the process of developing this plan was a collaborative one and we hope to see the collaboration and sharing of information and ideas continue. Council looks forward to supporting the implementation of the plan over the next three years.”

The plan was a priority deliverable in year one of the Kāpiti Coast Economic Development Strategy and Implementation Plan 2020-2023 being led by the Economic Development Kotahitanga Board. Having overseen the development of the plan, the Board will now work with Council, iwi, industry and the community on its implementation.

Chair of the independent Economic Development Kotahitanga Board, Neil Mackay, says the plan will see the district seize opportunities and strengthen our visitor economy, but it requires effective leadership and a joined-up approach.

“There are plenty of opportunities embedded in the plan, some of which highlight where product and market developments will be most effective. This is an exciting plan which, to be a success, requires an effective implementation process.

“The board is establishing a team of tourism business representatives to oversee implementation of the plan and key stakeholder communications relating to the development and roll out of projects. The Board will work closely with this team and with iwi, WellingtonNZ, Tourism NZ and other government agencies to optimise funding and resource to support this work.”

All districts in the Greater Wellington region are developing destination management plans to feed into a wider regional Wellington Destination Management plan. This work is possible due to funding support from the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment through Wellington NZ, as part of the government’s COVID-19 Tourism Recovery Package. The plan is also a requirement for accessing potential central government funding to support implementation.

“The wider regional plan will be a bonus,” says Mr Mackay. “Having Kapiti’s unique strengths built into the regional plan will help to strengthen the overall appeal of the Wellington region to visitors.”

Over three different phases of engagement iwi and sector stakeholders were able to feed into the plan. Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai representative on the Economic Development Kotahitanga Board Russell Spratt says iwi were pleased to collaborate on the plan’s development.

“Iwi believe tourism is an economic enabler that can assist in delivering multiple benefits to the Kāpiti rohe. These benefits include achieving growth in terms of the economic, environment, social and cultural well-beings.

“The plan provides opportunities for mana whenua to manaaki, tautoko and share the stories and experiences that connect us to Kāpiti. We know tourism is an economic enabler for Māori and will contribute to the overall community wealth derived from the sector.”

El Rancho Marketing and Community Relations manager Michelle von Keisenberg says they enjoyed being part of the development process.

“We’re excited to see this plan come to fruition to support the growth in Kapiti’s tourism sector. Although we already bring over 20,000 people to the Kāpiti region each year, as a not-for-profit, we are keen to tap into opportunities to collaborate with other local tourism providers and the Council, to market ourselves through as many different channels as possible.”

Air Chathams Chief Executive Officer Duane Emeny says done sustainably with key stakeholder engagement, especially local iwi and hapu, this plan will no doubt help supercharge the Coast’s tourism potential.

“Air Chathams is excited about the direction Kāpiti Coast District Council is taking with the Destination Management Plan for the region. Especially at a time where domestic tourism has become such a focus for Tourism New Zealand with bespoke funding opportunities to increase visibility on weekend getaways to beautiful coastal areas like the Kāpiti Coast.”

Funding and resource to support the implementation of this plan will come from a number of sources including Council’s existing Economic Development budget and Wellington NZ. There might also be opportunities to make specific funding requests to Tourism NZ.

Read the Kāpiti Coast Destination Management Plan at https://www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/our-district/economic-development/strategy-for-supporting-economic-development/#dmp

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