INDEPENDENT NEWS

Tourism industry enthusiastic about Waitaki plan

Published: Thu 3 May 2018 02:17 PM
Tourism industry enthusiastic about Waitaki plan to seek UNESCO status
Tourism Industry Aotearoa is enthusiastically supporting Waitaki District Council’s proposal to seek UNESCO recognition for its heritage buildings and unique geological treasures.
The proposal is included in the Council’s Draft Long Term Plan, on which TIA has made a submission.
“Attaining UNESCO World Heritage Status for Oamaru’s historical precinct and UNESCO Global Geopark status for Waitaki’s geological features would be great assets to New Zealand tourism. If Waitaki District manages to get both, it could unlock the region’s tourism potential,” says TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts.
The Council is also proposing to complete the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail and conduct a feasibility study for a new cycle trail between Oamaru and Palmerston.
Mr Roberts says “cycling is growing in popularity and we support the additional investment, which will build on the current high quality of cycle trails and tracks in the region.
“Advocating for new cycling opportunities is a good way for the Council to turn Waitaki into a year-round tourism destination and to increase visitor numbers, grow jobs, incomes and opportunities.”
TIA is urging the Council to strengthen its focus on environmental protection. The Draft Long Term Plan emphasises the need to value and protect areas such as the Mackenzie Basin.
“Our environment is our unique selling point as a tourism destination, and the Mackenzie Basin is a nationally significant landscape for tourism. It attracts many visitors, and is also integral to the experience of those heading to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park and those on the main South Island touring route, which passes through the Basin,” says Mr Roberts.
“We encourage the Council to consider taking action as per the recommendations in the MacKenzie Basin Agency Alignment report, and particularly to note that urgent attention is required as the landscape is currently under severe threat of irreversible change.”
To read TIA’s full submission, go to: https://tia.org.nz/assets/Uploads/TIA-Submission-LTP-Waitaki-District-Council.pdf.
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