As with the rest of New Zealand, Manawatū’s visitor industry has experienced a reshuffle over the past two years.
CEDA’s Destination Development Project Lead, Angela Scott has been tasked with supporting our visitor sector, so they have the tools and capability to meet our visitor needs, now and into the future.
“Prior to the pandemic, visitors contributed over $500 million to Manawatū’s economy and despite the impacts caused by the pandemic, we have fared relatively well with spend back up to $308 million in the year to March 2022.
“While we’ve not been as badly impacted compared to some of our counterpart regions around Aotearoa, our operators and hospitality sector have certainly taken some hard knocks over the last few years and we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Angela and the team at CEDA have been supporting the visitor sector by upskilling business owners, developing products to meet projected visitor needs and increasing capability, via a series of group workshops and through the development of resources including an online toolkit.
Angela is conscious of ensuring our visitor sector continues to optimise its focus and resources on the domestic market, whilst monitoring and engaging with the international market on relevant opportunities.
“We are focused on welcoming travellers who are looking for a deeper, more meaningful travel experience, not just your typical cookie cutter tick off the bucket list type.
This could be friends and whānau visiting family, or independent travellers who are intending to explore.
It is likely they will stay here for longer and search for unique experiences.
With the borders fully opening at the end of July, we will see yet another change to what the industry will look like. At this stage it’s hard to predict what that will be, however it’s important to be as prepared as possible.
Even though the borders are opening, it’s important to not get caught up in the fanfare and focus on what we do well,” she says.
“The domestic market is by far the most important market for Manawatū, with domestic visitors amounting to 80% of Manawatū’s visitor market pre-COVID-19, so we cannot get complacent. We will need to continue to adapt, create reasons for visitors to come to Manawatū and develop unique product experiences.”