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The Maniototo welcomes and wows Tourism Advisory Board

Central Otago’s Tourism Advisory Board had an opportunity to explore another part of Central Otago when they met in Wedderburn this month.

At its first meeting in January 2019 the Board identified that it was important it reached out to all parts of the region to understand how best to add value.

Following its final meeting planned for November this year, the Board will have visited all corners of Central Otago and connected with many of the tourism operators providing visitor experiences in the region.

As well as attending the Tourism Central Otago operator forum in Naseby, the Board visited and participated in a variety of experiences in the Maniototo area – including a four-wheel drive tour to Danseys Pass and the Shortland’s Sheds and curling.

Board chair Sue Sullivan says the development of new visitor experiences in the area impressed Board members.

"The experiences are connected to the area’s environment and its unique stories, and combined with knowledgeable and passionate people at the helm.

"Product development is a priority action within the Central Otago Tourism Strategy and the Board is excited to see how the Central Otago community is embracing the opportunities that tourism provides by developing new visitor experiences and broadening the range of what the region has to offer," she says.

TCO progress on key projects was a highlight of this meeting.

"With the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by Central Otago District Council, Dunedin City Council and Queenstown Lakes District Council, and regional tourism organisations supporting the Central Otago touring route, it is exciting to see this high priority project ready to move towards obtaining the necessary approvals from NZTA," says Sue.

Tourism Central Otago’s general manager Dylan Rushbrook noted for the Board that the month-long 2019 Eat Taste Central event beginning Friday, September 20 is already benefitting from additional partner support.

"We are achieving wider reaching pre-event promotion through Kia Ora and at Dunedin Airport to name just a couple. In addition, this week our TCO team is hosting a regional familiarisation for a group of Inbound Tourism Operators whose client portfolios align with the tourism strategy’s goal of targeting for value. This is yet another example of progress on key projects," says Dylan.

A challenge for all New Zealand’s regional tourism organisations is that of accessing useful data. Board members confirmed they will be actively connecting with the industry in the lead up to the national data hui on 17 October that will bring together central government, local government, industry and service providers to look at information and data needs, and consider products that may be available.

The next Tourism Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for November 7 – 8 in Alexandra.

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