Queenstown Lakes' destination management plan, Travel to a Thriving Future, aims to achieve regenerative tourism and a carbon zero visitor economy by 2030.
It is an output of the Queenstown Lakes District Grow Well Whaiora Spatial Plan. It offers opportunities for the region and greater wellbeing for people and the planet as regenerative tourism benefits communities, the environment, and the economy.
Collaboration between residents, communities, organisations, and businesses on the plan's strategic pillars and projects is crucial for progress towards this vision, ensuring the preservation of Queenstown Lakes for future generations.
Goal: Regenerative tourism by 2030
Keystone project: The visitor economy of Queenstown Lakes reaches carbon zero by 2030
Pillar 1: Enrich communities and enhance the visitor experience
Embrace the unique identities of local communities, empowering them to share their values and connection to place. This pillar supports regenerative tourism by aligning community wellbeing and values with visitor experiences. Queenstown Lakes communities are key to the visitor experience, and they are an important reason that people travel here. The district will attract visitors who respect local values and are interested in local cultures. Community amenities, facilities, and infrastructure should be developed with residents’ needs in mind. A regenerative approach to tourism will bring the cultural history and stories of Queenstown Lakes to life. Tourism businesses play a valuable role in protecting and enhancing culture and heritage by infusing them into visitor experiences. Opportunities to volunteer can also become sought-after experiences. Providing richer visitor experiences, along with consistent communication, will help visitors to develop a strong sense of connection to local communities, culture and places. The bottom line is that the visitor economy needs to have a positive impact on the lives of all residents.
- Project 1: Community engagement.
- Project 2: Tiaki Promise: Lead by example.
- Project 3: Preserve and celebrate Kāi Tahutaka and mātauraka.
- Project 4: Place-based destination planning.
- Project 5: Welcome programme.
- Project 6: Arts, culture & heritage development.
- Align actions with the core values and guiding principles.
- Positive community sentiment.
- Strong visitor satisfaction.
Pillar 2: Restore the environment and decarbonise the visitor economy
The path to regeneration begins with the keystone project: Carbon zero by 2030. This pillar contains Queenstown Lakes’ keystone project and its critical call to action: to decarbonise the visitor economy by 2030. This ambitious goal requires immediate and sustained action following scientific best practices. Both in-destination emissions and the emissions associated with transportation (including Scope 3) must be accounted for. The visitor economy will also take action to address all significant aspects of its environmental footprint. Many tourism businesses are already showing leadership in sustainability. The next step is for the entire destination to go beyond reducing environmental impacts and begin to restore, repair and regenerate natural systems. This exciting aspect of Travel to a thriving future is an essential commitment toward making the visitor economy sustainable and globally competitive over the long term. It begins with decarbonisation.
- Project 7: Measure environmental footprint
- Project 8: Measure greenhouse gas emissions
- Project 9: (Keystone): Carbon zero by 2030
- Project 10: Zero environmental footprint
- Project 11: Restoring ecosystems
- Reach carbon zero by 2030.
- Zero waste and pollution.
- Biodiversity health (Specific KPIs to be set by Project 7, Project 10 and Project 11).
Pillar 3: Build economic resilience, capability and productivity
Ensure resilience in the visitor economy to provide a prosperous future for business owners and staff in a way that is good for local communities and the planet.
This pillar focuses on developing a thriving economy for the future. Regenerative businesses are commercially successful and have enormous positive impact on people, environment and society. Success comes from reciprocal relationships that create win-win outcomes for customers, employees, suppliers, the environment, communities and their investors. A prosperous and resilient economy is a system of interrelated businesses working in this way. It delivers wellbeing for all citizens, without overly concentrated wealth. Tourism destinations and businesses following this path are also prepared for a changing environment.
Instead of presuming that more visitors will result in increased benefits, there must be careful focus on the overall value that communities and the environment receive. Yield and the holistic value of tourism will be prioritised over an increase in visitor numbers. Similarly to a business maturing from top line growth to focus on their bottom line, the destination must consider all costs and benefits.
The world is decarbonising, and the advantages will go to the first movers. While extractive tourism is losing its social license, significant economic development opportunities are opening. Taking responsibility is economically beneficial and derisks the future. Leaders in regeneration will command higher yield per visitor and attract the brightest talent and best business investments. This leads to a higher reputation for the district and a stronger workforce with lower turnover. The investment in a systems approach to regenerative tourism will be repaid in the creation of a resilient visitor economy that has more positive impacts on communities, the environment, and the economy. It is exciting to see the progress of those businesses leading the way.
- Project 12: Economic leakage assessment and cost benefit analysis
- Project 13: Direct funding for infrastructure
- Project 14: Love Wānaka / Love Queenstown
- Project 15: Product evolution programme
- Project 16: Tourism business excellence programme
- Project 17: Thriving workforce programme
- Project 18: Emergency and Climate Adaptation Preparedness
- Project 19: Innovation and economic development
- Increase the total value of the visitor economy, net of all costs and economic leakage.
- Ensure workforce availability and improve workforce retention.
- Maintain tourism business satisfaction.
Foundations for Success
Set the systems in place to realise the vision of Travel to a thriving future.
This pillar addresses foundational work to enable the other three strategic pillars. While it is important to recognise that developing a regenerative visitor economy will be a journey of learning aligned to core values and guiding principles, the success of this plan will be enabled by ensuring the district has the necessary:
- Data to inform future projects.
- Clarity of assignment of responsibilities.
- Financial resources and ability to secure additional funding.
- Capabilities and organisational change management process.
- Connection to other relevant plans and bodies of work.
- Alignment and coordination with local, regional and national planning and strategies for tourism and the visitor economy.
- Partnerships between the RTOs, QLDC, Kāi Tahu and Department of Conservation, along with other key stakeholders including tourism businesses.
- Governance structure.
- Awareness and participation from among tourism stakeholders, communities, and relevant agencies.
- Foundational project 1: Framework for governance and review
- Foundational project 2: Operationalise projects
- Foundational project 3: Data and measurement framework
- Foundational project 4: Update Queenstown Lakes brand and marketing strategies
- Develop a robust governance model that includes a reporting and review cadence.
- Establish an implementation plan and communications structure.
- Establish data collection and reporting systems. Align brand and marketing activities with regenerative tourism goals
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