Widening tourism focus - key driver in draft district strategy

With tourism now a significant earner for Hurunui, the district is looking at ways to better capitalise on the growing visitor market.

Specific goals, including improved infrastructure, relationships and signage, along with an expanded focus, are outlined in a Draft Tourism Strategy which sets to establish a framework for marketing the district over the next four years

Hurunui District Council Mayor Winton Dalley says while tourism previously took a back seat to a flourishing farming sector, it has grown in importance over the past twenty years to become a major provider of economic activity and employment in the district.

“Because we can expect tourism to play a significant role in the future growth of our entire district it is important we get things right to maximise all opportunities available to us in the coming years.

“That means not only identifying what we can offer but also ensuring we deliver a quality experience to our visitors so they will in turn continue to recommend us to family, friends and colleagues.”

While fewer international tourists are expected to come through Canterbury in the wake of the February 2011 earthquake, the district is still expected to achieve an average growth in visitor nights of up to 1.4% through 2015, largely because of its popularity with domestic tourists.

Hurunui Tourism Board Chairman, and Deputy Mayor, Michael Malthus says the Draft Strategy recommends a number of ways of maintaining and increasing market share, including not only continuing to endorse the established focus on ‘wellness’, driven largely by the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pool and Spa experience, but also by placing additional focus on Waipara Valley.

“While it is important to retain the premier position of the Council’s internationally recognised award-winning Thermal Pools “and spread the resulting revenue to each and every ratepayer throughout Hurunui”, there is obvious value in bringing together other tourism resources to further build and strengthen the district’s position in the tourism market.

“We cannot, and certainly do not wish to, ignore the diversity of landscapes and experiences on offer that can only add to a district-wide brand that offers new and lasting memories to each and every visitor.”

The Draft Strategy points to opportunities around the Waipara Valley wine region and its array of events including entertainment, dining and wine experiences, and plans to develop biking and walking trails, as well as the many recreational opportunities afforded by our long and spectacular coastline.

The Draft Tourism Strategy 2015, commissioned by the Hurunui Tourism Board, is open for consultation until 5:00pm 27 May 2011.

For further information contact:

Michael Malthus


Hurunui Tourism Board

P: 03 314 0024