Keeping Waitaki’s name in the game

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As summer draws near, Tourism Waitaki staff have been busy making sure the district is poised for a stellar season.

Tourism Waitaki’s marketing and sales manager Megan Howell said Waitaki had a very high profile in the industry, credited in large part to positive television and big screen features.

Most recently, the Waitaki District was featured on TVNZ’s Tiki Tour on Friday. Tiki Tour, a TV2 programme, invites pre-schoolers to climb on board and explore New Zealand and showed off the likes of Oamaru’s steampunk playground and heritage.

“It just gives a little overview of Oamaru – it’s pretty cute,” she said.

Last month, Glide Omarama was featured on Wild South and Waitaki’s feature on Catch and Cook with Adventure Aaron is due to be screened soon, with the new season having started on September 29.

“And of course the release of Mr Pip,” she said.

“It’s just lifting our profile, especially following on from the Sharpest Town.”

Last month, Megan Howell attended a Tourism New Zealand update, which also doubled as a Regional Tourism Organisations’ Awards, in which Tourism Waitaki won the “Biggest Icon Award” for the steampunk train.

Five icons from around the country, including Ohakune’s giant carrot, were nominated for the award.

“That was really, really cool. It’s lifting awareness, especially among our peers,” she said.

“It’s so cool that [Brian de Geest] got some kudos for that. I know he and his team work so hard so it’s great to get that recognition”

Included in the TNZ updates was discussion of the emerging international tourism markets.

“They will be India, Indonesia and South America,” she said.

Working together with TNZ, and following their lead, Tourism Waitaki will look at targeting the Indian, Indonesian and South American markets.

“It’s somewhere that we need to look as well and continue to build relationships with the travel agents in those areas.”

On October 1 and 2, Tourism Waitaki held “Get ready for China” workshops in Omarama and Oamaru, building on the SOUTH campaign.

“They were very successful and gave our tourism operators an overview of how they can best welcome our Chinese visitors.”

To further enhance the district’s profile, a new visitor guide and map for Waitaki is almost ready for distribution, featuring some of the newest additions to the region as well as some of the best attractions that, sometimes, only the locals know about.

“Just sharing with our visitors some of those wee gems so they can just get to know the Waitaki District like we do,” she said.

“Our new district brochure will go to all the i-SITEs in New Zealand, it will go to international travel agents and it will also come with us to all of our trade shows.

The brochure also features a section on our Maori place names, and their meanings – something Ms Howell would like to expand on in future publications.

By Rebecca Ryan