Destination Wairarapa stays put

5:41 pm on 20 September 2021

Masterton and South Wairarapa district councils have voted to keep tourism organisation Destination Wairarapa as a separate entity to WellingtonNZ.

Castlepoint in the Wairarapa is known for its rough and isolated coast.

Photo: 123rf

It was one of two options presented to councils regarding the future of economic development and tourism in Wairarapa.

The other option was to subsume Destination Wairarapa into WellingtonNZ.

Councils are a majority funder of Destination Wairarapa.

In the 2020 financial year, it received $470,000 in local government funding.

In June 2020, a review was commissioned on behalf of Wairarapa's three councils to consider the arrangements for economic development in Wairarapa.

The review identified that new arrangements were needed to respond to significant changes in local government.

Previously, a council-controlled economic development organisation was suggested specifically for Wairarapa.

But this option was labelled by South Wairarapa District Council chief executive as "a sledgehammer to crack a nut".

At South Wairarapa and Masterton's full council meetings last week, it was decided that WellingtonNZ would continue to carry out its current regional activities, including those that related to Wairarapa, and it would set up a local office.

Destination Wairarapa would retain its Regional Tourism Operator status and brand and would also now receive back-end support from WellingtonNZ.

Carterton councillors are yet to meet to discuss the options.

A report by MartinJenkins said retaining Destination Wairarapa as a separate entity would be straightforward.

A disadvantage was that councils would need to monitor two service agreements [Destination Wairarapa and WellingtonNZ] instead of one.

Councillors in South Wairarapa and Masterton provided good feedback on the work Destination Wairarapa does to promote tourism and economic growth in Wairarapa.

"Minutes after it was announced that the rest of the country was [exiting lockdown], my Facebook blew up with Destination Wairarapa encouraging people to come here," South Wairarapa councillor Pip Maynard said.

"[Destination Wairarapa] have really got their teeth into how to really get the people coming here."

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