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Tourism Strategy fails Central Otago - Jacqui Dean

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

In the midst of the busy summer season in Central Otago, the inadequacies of the Government’s draft tourism strategy are all the more apparent, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.

"Instead of providing concrete and specific solutions to support Otago’s growing tourism sector the Government’s strategy, released in November, is thin on detail and thick on rhetoric.

"I think the Government has missed an opportunity with this strategy, especially when we’ve got tourism operators and communities, from Alexandra to Hawea, asking for better support.

"The Government says that it wants all New Zealanders to benefit from ‘productive, sustainable and inclusive tourism growth,’ yet there are communities in this region right now who are feeling very differently.

"Visitor numbers are at a record high, and are set to grow, what we really need is Government policy that’s serious about investing in projects and infrastructure and supporting communities in need.

"Submissions on the Government's tourism strategy close next month (4 February 2019) and while the document outlines some positive goals to promote tourism and conservation, it is short on immediate action to address concerns such as over-crowding and freedom camping issues, impacting on the Central Otago region right now.

"In fact the only real specifics are a visitor tax and more working groups and reviews - totally irrelevant at this time of year when communities are struggling to cope with big tourist numbers and insufficient on-the-ground infrastructure.

"I encourage anyone who has concerns about tourism to make their views known to Government before submissions on the strategy close in early February."

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