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Regenerative Tourism by 2030: Lake Wānaka Tourism, Destination Queenstown and Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Our vision is for the tourism industry to evolve in a way that puts people and place at its centre and enables a viable and regenerative tourism future by 2030.

The tourism landscape has changed considerably over the last year. Pre-COVID, commentary around the tourism industry often included pressures on the environment, our local community, as well as resultant effects on local infrastructure, facilities, and roads. Post-lockdown, this conversation has shifted to how this core industry should look if and when international travel returns in scale.

This is the key driver for establishing this process now, in partnership with Destination Queenstown and Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC). Made possible through Government funding, our vision is to develop a co-designed plan to a regenerative tourism industry by 2030.

This will be a multi-year plan developed together with the Queenstown Lakes community, visitor industry and stakeholders, to ensure we can answer the big question:

How can the visitor economy be in service of, and adding value to the district, its living ecosystems and its communities in a way that also delivers appropriate financial benefits and a thriving economy?

While this plan will not seek to address infrastructure challenges (as this is covered in other pieces of work managed by QLDC and Government), it will seek to enhance our tourism offering in a way which benefits the local community and iwi, drives environmental custodianship, supports quality visitor experiences, attracts markets that align with the district’s shared community values, and encourages investment and partnerships.

Blue Pools in Makarora, New Zealand

How can we create change?

To be successful in driving change we first need to understand, explore and address the big question.  This will help us understand how we can shape a positive future for tourism and foster a harmonious relationship between all of us as locals and our visitors.

Lake Wānaka Tourism and Destination Queenstown the Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs), have teamed up to help lead the change, in partnership with QLDC.  The RTOs have secured Government funding to enable this work and the following partners have been engaged to provide expertise and guidance:

  • Proxima Consulting, a sustainability consulting firm specialising in strategy development for a thriving future. Proxima is working with Anna Pollock (Conscious Travel), an internationally recognised expert in regenerative tourism, and Jerome Partington, a leading New Zealand regenerative design practitioner.
  • Destination Think!, a global destination planning and place marketing firm which has created world-leading strategic plans for places of all sizes from towns to continents.
A kayak on the lake

Our goals

  1. Create this tourism future together with no pre-determined outcomes.
  2. Commit to co-designing a regenerative tourism model that protects and enhances our taonga, links strongly to our values, creates pride in its strength of conviction and purpose, and enables a thriving future.
  3. Work with the local tourism industry, community and stakeholders to co-design a plan for the Queenstown Lakes district which will provide a roadmap for moving the district toward a regenerative tourism future by 2030.
  4. Put our local community, visitors, and unique and beautiful district at the heart of the plan. To ensure we create outcomes that enrich the district across all four wellbeings (social, cultural, environmental and economic) and enable a thriving future.
  5. Focus specifically on placemaking in this plan. This is an opportunity to shape the destination to benefit the local community and iwi; drive environmental custodianship; support quality visitor experiences; target markets that align with our values; and encourage investment, partnerships and sustainable growth in high value jobs and businesses.
  6. Lead the process with destination management, sustainability and tourism experts. The process and outcomes will inform and upskill the local tourism industry and community about regenerative tourism, creating a common understanding and a culture of learning and sharing. It will also assist in developing a more productive, sustainable and inclusive visitor sector which generates economic opportunities and social benefits across our region.
Woman standing in front of lake at dusk.

Our objectives

  • Provide a roadmap for regenerative tourism that is aligned and integrated with the region’s guiding plans and strategies.
  • Adopt a destination management approach that aligns with MBIE’s Destination Management Guidelines.
  • Give effect to the New Zealand Aotearoa Government’s Tourism Strategy.
  • Support an inter-agency approach to regenerative tourism that enriches the district across all four wellbeings and across the tourism system.
  • Support a sustainable and healthy local economy, ensure natural systems and the environment are thriving, enrich all layers of cultural fabric, enable community wellbeing through purposeful relationships and generate positive advocacy from the local host community.