Oamaru tourist lodge owner James Glucksman is concerned that Tourism New Zealand is omitting Oamaru/Waitaki from its list of destinations.
Mr Glucksman who is owner/host of Pen-y-bryn Luxury Lodge with James Boussy in Oamaru, said the matter came to a head when Tourism NZ invited him to Luxperience, an annual trade show in Sydney to promote luxury travel around the world.
The forms he was sent to fill in specified destinations such as Nelson/Marlborough, and excluded Waitaki, mentioning only Dunedin and Southern Lakes.
“It (Waitaki/Oamaru) has always been off the list and it’s a bit of an issue. Where do we belong to when we fill in forms?”
Mr Glucksman said with Tourism NZ also not mentioning Oamaru/Waitaki as a destination on its website newzealand.com meant people overseas planning their trips on the basis of the website information, would overlook this district.
Deborah Gray, communications advisor for Tourism NZ said general manager corporate affairs Chris Roberts had replied to Mr Glucksman advising there was an error on the forms sent to him. They should have mentioned Dunedin, Southland and Coastal Otago.
“Waitaki is something of a unique case,” Mr Roberts said in an email to Mr Glucksman.
“As I understand it, the Waitaki District Council is the only South Island district that is divided between two regions – Otago and Canterbury. And the district council then refers to three sub-regions of the district – Waitaki Valley, Oamaru and Coastal Otago. And of course there is the Waitaki River.”
Mr Roberts added that Waitaki was not listed as a category in the accommodation section but they would now “consider” whether it would be helpful to have the district included.
Mr Glucksman said it was quite an oversight by Tourism NZ not having Waitaki district listed.
“A visitor might think this area is not worth visiting.”
He could not quantify how much the district might have missed out through being left off the website destinations category, but in his opinion it was like omitting Brittany from the French tourism industry’s website.
Mr Glucksman has also made his concerns known to Waitaki Tourism Association chairman Ralph Davies and he hoped changes would be made.
By CHRIS TOBIN