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Destination Coromandel project manager Whitney Steel says the regional tourism organisation wants to know what people really think about tourism in their backyard. Photo: TERESA RAMSEY

Survey seeks honest opinions about regional tourism


Local communities throughout the region will have their say in a new survey designed to help the region plan for the future of tourism.
Destination Coromandel project manager Whitney Steel said the regional tourism organisation wanted to know what people really thought about tourism in their backyard as part of the region’s very first destination management plan (DMP).
“In plain terms, a destination management plan is a more holistic way of managing our region as a destination,” she said.
“It’s about building a direction from the community up – what do we want for our region? How do we manage all the visitors coming in the summertime? Do we want to see visitors pay more for facilities that are shared by us as locals? What do we need visitors to understand about protecting our environment?
“And getting people’s genuine opinions and feelings about it – the purpose of the survey is not to sway anyone to support tourism growth, it’s to genuinely understand how they feel and provide the building blocks of a way forward.”
The DMP brings together our priorities for the region under one umbrella, for example, conservation, infrastructure, views on tourism and more, and makes it easier to see what’s really important to our communities and what actions to take.
After the survey closes on August 27, Destination Coromandel plans to run community workshops to present the results of the survey, discuss the ideas put forward and community priorities in the region.
“It’s getting people’s genuine priorities for their town because we are one region but we’re all so different based on where we live. Everyone’s idea of who we are at our local level and then connecting that to how we see our region,” Ms Steel said.
“The one common theme I’ve noticed chatting to locals is, the very reason people want to visit here, is the exact reason why we live here – we love the sea and we love the bush. That’s why we’re all passionate about protecting our environment and ensuring our mokopuna can experience our place the same way we do.”
Tourism in New Zealand was changing, with sustainability now a priority focus, she said.
“Some locals feel that tourism is only about bringing in numbers but that’s not the case anymore – tourism has changed around the country. It’s not so much about getting tourists here at all costs – it’s about how we manage things sustainably, which includes our quality of life as locals who live here.
“To move to a destination management approach to tourism, which is an all-encompassing holistic view, including community and mana whenua, we must build it together. This is part of the process to achieve that.
“Our business owners have had their say with over 200 responses to our business survey.
“Now it’s your turn.”

The survey is for all residents – permanent and holiday home owners throughout the Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki districts. Everyone taking part has the chance to enter a prize draw for two nights under the stars at Wairua Lodge near Whitianga, valued at $450.
The community survey is live now and closes on Friday, August 27, at