This month Kaikoura became New Zealand’s 30th Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) and member of Regional Tourism Organisations NZ (RTONZ), the coordinating and advocacy body for all the country’s RTOs.
Until now Kaikoura’s tourism marketing arm, Kaikoura Information & Tourism Inc. (KITI), held District Tourism Organisation status. RTONZ membership will help the newly formed Destination Kaikoura have a greater voice in domestic and inbound tourism matters, says manager Glenn Ormsby.
“We’re a small region, but Kaikoura punches well above its weight when it comes to tourism attractions and activities,” he said.
Kaikoura, with its mountains-and-sea setting and myriad eco-tourism activities, already attracts up to 1 million visitors a year. Whale watching, dolphin, NZ fur seals and albatross activities, guided coastal and wilderness walks, kayaking and Maori culture tours are among its major draw cards.
The region’s eco credentials were recently further enhanced by becoming the first community in the Southern Hemisphere to gain Earthcheck Platinum certification and by Prime Minister John Key’s announcement of the Government’s agreement to implement the Kaikoura Marine Strategy, Te Korowai o Te Tai o Marokura, establishing new marine reserves and sanctuaries to protect Kaikoura’s wildlife.
“We’re delighted to welcome Kaikoura into our family of regional tourism bodies,” said David Perks, Chair of RTONZ. “Having Kaikoura at the RTONZ table gives recognition to a region that has outstanding natural assets that appeal to many international and domestic visitors.”