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The economic impact will be felt across the community, with businesses benefiting from a collective and singular marketing position that defines Gisborne city and the wider Tairawhiti region.

Steve Breen, Activate Tairawhiti CEO

Million dollar tourism campaign for Gisborne

9 August 2016, Andrew Ashton, The Gisborne Herald.

ECT and Air NewZealand join forces to increase tourism spend here by estimated $7m over next three years.

EFFORTS aimed at “repositioning” the way Gisborne is viewed by the rest of the nation have received a million-dollar boost from Eastland Community Trust.

With Air New Zealand increasing its passenger capacity on its Gisborne to Wellington route by 70 percent this year, Eastland Community Trust has now confirmed it will put $1 million towards Air NZ and Activate Tairawhiti’s joint marketing campaign, which is estimated to increase tourism spending here by $7m over the next three years.

ECT general manager Leighton Evans said the campaign was a critical step in the development of regional tourism — “one that ECT expects will increase visitor numbers, create jobs, increase regional GDP and reposition the region in the hearts and minds of travellers.”

Mr Evans said providing the campaign with $1m over the next three years would particularly allow the region to take advantage of the increased capacity Air New Zealand would create with the introduction of the larger Q300 aircraft.

“Activate Tairawhiti should be congratulated for not only recognising but creating what should be a fantastic opportunity for the region.

“The addition of the Q300 is not a silver bullet itself. What it does, is provide us with a valuable opportunity to better tell our story, an opportunity to focus on what makes us great and launch a sustainable campaign that can make a long-term difference to the region.”

An economic impact study estimated the joint marketing initiative could boost the regional economy by $5 million a year.

Mr Evans said that ECT had, for some time, recognised the importance of the tourism sector by supporting a number of cornerstone events and, for three years, subsidised landing fees for the Q300 out of Auckland. But this was the first time the trust had been engaged in such a comprehensive and collaborative tourism project.

Partnership to open doors

“The research and data presented to trustees was compelling. So was the partnership with Air New Zealand, whose business is tourism. This partnership will open doors to market sectors we have never had access to before.

“It’s an opportunity that has the potential to bring significant benefit to the local tourism and hospitality sectors.

Conservative estimates suggest the initiative could create up to 60 full-time jobs and increase the tourism spend by up to $7 million over the next three years.

“The marketing strategy developed by MacDonnell Associates in association with local stakeholders, has been a collaborative effort, with key agencies such as the council providing the support needed to gain the confidence of commercial operators.

“Funding has also been secured from Gisborne District Council, Air New Zealand, central government and Gisborne Chamber of Commerce, as well as in-kind support from The Gisborne Herald. Combined, it’s a contribution of $179,000 in year one and $110,000 in the remaining two years.

“ECT’s contribution will significantly bolster the budget and Activate Tairawhiti’s ability to deliver on the economic projections. For that reason, trustees considered this a perfect fit for our Prosperous fund, which is designed to support initiatives that support regional economic growth.”

Activate Tairawhiti welcomes funding

Activate Tairawhiti chief executive Steve Breen welcomed the funding for a campaign he expects will have far- reaching benefits.

“The tourism industry is the fastest-growing part of the national economy and this campaign presents our region with the opportunity to capitalise on this — growing jobs in an industry that’s relatively undeveloped compared to other parts of the country.”

Mr Breen said the economic impact would be felt across the community, with businesses benefiting from a collective and singular marketing position that defined Gisborne city and the wider Tairawhiti region.

Tourism Eastland chief executive Stuart Perry said he was delighted ECT had recognised the value of growing tourism in the region.

“It’s very exciting for the region. Funding for major marketing campaigns has always been an issue, so partnering with Air NZ on a major strategy is going to see a huge shift in visitor numbers to Gisborne and the wider region.

“As the regional tourism organisation, Tourism Eastland has to date been very successful in maintaining steady visitor growth, but more passengers on flights into Gisborne and the growth of the drive market from neighbouring regions will be a huge boost for the economy.”

Gisborne Chamber of Commerce president Gavin Murphy said funding from ECT would help make the initiative a reality.

“This is an important step forward for the region. For the first time, we’ll be promoting Gisborne and Tairawhiti with one voice, greatly improving our ability to attract businesses and visitors.

“The chamber has long recognised the value of collaborating with Air New Zealand and the positive economic impact this approach will have. We’ve been actively involved and, together with Activate, presented to the council for initial funding support. We thank ECT for their support and for helping to make this initiative a reality.”

Activate Tairawhiti expects to start work on the campaign in the coming weeks, with a view to launching a comprehensive campaign in October.

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