The Milford Opportunities Project’s masterplan has innovative, bold and challenging ideas that could radically change
the way we look after one of the jewels in New Zealand’s tourism crown, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says.
“The Milford corridor from Te Anau to the Sound is a key tourism asset for New Zealand and as such demands special
attention,” TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.
“The Project was asked to be innovative and challenging and that has been achieved. TIA supports the overall vision of
the new masterplan. Many of the details will need to be closely examined and discussed, but the debate is necessary as
the way Milford Sound Piopiotahi has been operating is not sustainable.”
The Milford Opportunities Project began in late 2017 and TIA was one of many parties consulted during development of the
masterplan, which was released in Te Anau today.
“The outcomes of this process must ensure Te Anau, Milford Sound Piopiotahi and the wider region are sustainably
managed, with greater environmental protection, an improved visitor experience and increased benefits to local
communities and their tourism operators.”
TIA expects some of the recommendations in the masterplan will attract widespread support from the tourism industry,
such as weaving in mana whenua values, and improving the walking and cycling opportunities along the corridor to Milford
Sound Piopiotahi, encouraging visitors to slow down and spend more time in the region.
Park and ride opportunities would help manage congestion, while having one body to manage Milford Sound Piopiotahi would
potentially remove frustrating layers of bureaucracy.
However, proposals to restrict access by cruise ships and to close the airstrip will be unpopular with the directly
affected businesses, Mr Roberts says.
“If these recommendations are picked up by the Government, it will need to work with businesses to mitigate the
The tourism industry will also be taking a close look at the recommendation to charge international visitors to access
Milford Sound Piopiotahi.
“At this time, we do not know what international visitor itineraries are going to look like when our borders reopen nor
how much demand there will be,” Mr Roberts says.
“We must ensure the outcomes of this project support sustainable tourism, and do not inadvertently create barriers to
recovery. It must also complement the work that is being done at the national level on the future of tourism in
Aotearoa, such as the proposed Tourism Industry Transformation Plan that was announced by Tourism Minister Stuart Nash
“There’s a lot of work still to be done, but if government, iwi, community and business can work together and find
common ground, something very special can be created.”
To read TIA’s December 2020 feedback on the shortlist of ideas for the Milford Opportunities Project masterplan, go to: