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Venture Taranaki says the future of Taranaki tourism is now

In the future visitors to Taranaki could be discovering our region with the help of personalised virtual assistants and digital tools, according to work led by Venture Taranaki and some of Aotearoa’s leading design-thinkers.

This insight, along with other key trends were presented to a cross-section of Taranaki enterprises, who could all have a potential role to play in supporting our visitor industry moving forward.

Chris Jackson and Chris Clay of We Create Futures addressed the room of diverse industries including representation from energy, art and the creative sectors, hospitality, food, and retail at the Novotel on Monday, July 5.

It is all part of a programme of work being led by Venture Taranaki called Designing Visitor Futures of Taranaki and was the follow-up to a Design and Refine Workshop, where industry feedback was captured through a process that asked attendees to think big when it comes to our visitor future, as well as several months of visitor interviews and research.

"It’s all about ensuring Taranaki further builds a vibrant, diverse, restorative and resilient visitor sector that leverages our regional strengths while acknowledging what the visitor of the future will want as part of their visitor experience," says Justine Gilliland, chief executive Venture Taranaki.

With the support of We Create Futures, Venture Taranaki have taken a future-focused, user-centric approach to research and identify future areas of opportunity or ‘the sweet spots’ that our visitor sector can leverage.

"The work that we’re undertaking now will help to identify and then support the creation of the kinds of attractions and experiences visitors of tomorrow will look for when deciding to visit a region," says Justine.

"Our region’s development vision and action plans all identify how vital our visitor sector is to the vibrancy of our region."

"Recognising this we have undertaken this work to take a closer look at local and global visitor trends to get a clear picture of where tourism is likely to move in the future," says Justine.

Other interesting trends presented on Monday described how we can expect more Taranaki visitors to be travelling alone.

"The research suggests these travellers are going to be interested in exploring in a way that will give them a deeper connection to the environment, alongside being increasingly conscious about their consumer habits when they travel," says Justine.

The next steps for Venture Taranaki will be to work with individuals and enterprises across the region, to apply these concepts as part of a product development phase that will stretch wider than just the ‘tourism’ sector.

"This will involve a range of diverse stakeholders. From iwi, creatives, and local food producers, to existing tourism operators, and entrepreneurs who wish to advance product development and shape visitor experience ideas for the next generation of Taranaki visitors to enjoy," says Justine.

"We collectively now have an opportunity to take what we have discovered and developed, to add significant value to the region for generations to come," said Justine as she addressed those in attendance.

Designing Visitor Futures of Taranaki is an initiative made possible through the Government’s Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme funding in the wake of COVID-19.

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