Tourism Coromandel 
Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 3:49PM
Bill Barclay

There have been stage whispers going around for some time regarding the future of Tourism Coromandel. This was one of the major targets of Mayor Glenn Leach during the election campaign, though to be fair, a substantial reorganisation was being led by CEO Jim Archibald well before that time. Glenn was chair of the organisation at the outset, and could be said to have a vested interest in seeing that it performed in accordance with its original intent.

Because of its membership structure, it has tended to be dominated by the B & B, and motel sector over the years, and thereby unable to fulfil its need to promote the Coromandel in the local and international market. Running around pushing bed nights for 156 different businesses is not the role of a promotional organisation – that is for sure. On the other hand, there are many who consider its promotion of the Scallop Festival in particular has led in imbalance in its operation.

It seems the old structure is going out the window, and that a new Coromandel Tourism Trust will be established with a board of three highly experienced trustees, including two who do not even live in the District. The old $225 membership will go, along with the demands of the B & B sector, and funding will continue at its present level from Council. Additional funding is planned through destination marketing initiatives aimed principally at a more sophisticated wholesale level.

One welcome move is to dump the Scallop Festival back where it belongs - in the laps of the major beneficiaries in Whitianga. The Committee will be opened up, and from 17 September they will be on their own with a fairly substantial bank account that has come forward from previous years. It is staggering to note that despite substantial past profits, the Committee has continued to rely on, even demand unpaid input from TC to keep the show going. Bookings appear to be adequate for the current year, but a new coordinator will need to be appointed.

There is talk of combining the administrative functions of the new Tourism Trust with the proposed Economic Development Agency that Council is initiating, and that makes sense.

One thing that is likely to happen is that the major operators involved in tourism activities (not just accommodation!) will be invited to join in overseas marketing activities. Another is that Jim Archibald, who has not been everyone’s flavour of the month within the industry in the past, seems safe and sound in the new role – at least for the foreseeable future.

The new structure appeared to be well received at a briefing provided last week in Whitianga to large number of local operators. It will be interesting to see if this pattern is repeated elsewhere.      




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