A Queenstown tourism veteran urges people to attend a forum to discuss the future shape of the resort’s visitor industry.
The Shaping Our Future group is holding a Tourism & Visitor Forum at Queenstown Memorial Centre from 5pm to 8pm tomorrow.
Steering group member Jim Boult – who’s had 30 years’ involvement in tourism – says despite the visitor industry’s vital importance to Queenstown, not much thought’s been put into what it’s going to look like in 30 years’ time, what effects it will have on our area and whether we can or should control its growth.
Boult says questions to consider include:
Is there a limit to the numbers of visitors the area can cope with?
Is there a mix of visitor nationalities that is desirable and, if so, is there anything we can do to have control over that?
Are we satisfied with our control of tourism’s effect on the environment?
What do we need to do to ensure transport options are right for future growth, both getting to Queenstown via road or vehicle, and internally?
Are we happy with the way central Queenstown is developing?
Will adequate infrastructure be available to cope with growth and will our rating base cope with that?
Are we satisfied with the Resource Management Act? If someone came along with a proposal to put a gondola up Bob’s Peak or a skifield on Coronet Peak, would it get approval and, if not, is there something we need to do about the RMA?
Will our accommodation options be sufficient both in quantity and quality?
What about long-standing problems such as seasonality and the availability of suitable staff to service the industry?
Do we adequately fund Destination Queenstown and are regional tourism organisations the right model to market a destination such as Queenstown?
Boult concedes people might not have a problem with some of these issues.
“But let’s ask the questions and see what comes out of it.
“The bottom line is I encourage anybody who has an interest in, or is part of the industry, to come to the forum and have their say,” Boult adds.
Groups will work together around tables – a taskforce of volunteers will then collate information from the forum and other sources into a report, including recommendations to agencies.
The Shaping Our Future steering group plans to consider the report and distribute it to forum participants for further input before it’s ratified.