What is a Destination Management Plan?

    A Destination Management Plan is a document that will guide a future for tourism that will protect the Mackenzie District’s precious values and create exceptional visitor experiences.

    This vision will form the blueprint for the future of the district and its surrounds, including Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, the upper Waitaki Valley and the Lindis Pass. 

    It will explore options to unlock and enable sustainable growth and resilience for the District going forward.

    On our ‘Must Have’ list are resilient and viable communities, high-quality liveability for residents and targeted, quality experiences for visitors. 

    We also want to celebrate our natural landscape and the science and spirituality behind it, our history and culture. It’s time to rebalance our heritage story and reflect mana whenua experience and whakapapa too.

    Why do we need one?

    In the past, the rapid growth of tourism put unsustainable pressure on our communities, the environment and infrastructure. 

    The Destination Management Plan will include actions, likely costs and benefits and policy and regulation guidance to help us move past that. 

    It will inform Master Planning Spatial Planning, and infrastructure investment to deliver on those outcomes. It will also help attract investment into the district.  

    What’s the process?

    There are a number of steps that will take place over the next few months. 

    First we need to understand what’s important to people about the Mackenzie.   We’ll be asking questions like, what do you want the Mackenzie to be known for? What type of tourists do you want to attract? How will this shape life for locals in the future?

    We’ll share ideas and findings from our technical work with you, and use your comments and ideas to create a draft Destination Management Plan, which will include the different preferred scenarios. 

    Later in the year, we’ll ask for your feedback again on your preferred option before we finalise the plan and share it with all stakeholders and the community.

    Who will be involved?

    In addition to the many governance organisations who will contribute to the draft plan, there’s a wide range of people who live, work and play in the Mackenzie with different views. 

    Kaitiaki are the guardians of the environment, the Mana Whenua who have enduring connections to Te Manahuna and, as Treaty Partners, whose aspirations for whanau will significantly shape the plan.

    Stewards are those who live and work on, and with, the land – from community members to businesses, farmers, emergency services, schools, service clubs, tourism providers and services and environmental protection groups.  

    Visitors want to experience what we value in the Mackenzie and include local and international tourists, tourism organisations, seasonal workers and working holidaymakers, and the arts, heritage, culture and events sector.

    Reaching agreement will require careful navigation and a common understanding of the issues. It will be hard work finding the right balance, and will require lots of difficult conversations, but we are ready for it.

    Why now?

    Prior to Covid-19, the Te Manahuna/Mackenzie District contributed $221 million towards New Zealand’s GDP.  However rapid growth in visitor numbers and traffic volumes had caused challenges such as congestion at key locations, physical impacts of rubbish and human waste in the environment, and growing pressure on vulnerable conservation areas.

    While the economic and social impacts of Covid-19 are real and painful for our communities, Covid-19 has given us a chance to catch our breath, take stock of what we have, and consider what we want in the future.  

    With many of us wondering, ‘How do we strike the right balance, keep what we love about living and visiting here and create a more sustainable future?’, the time is right to prioritise the protection of the environmental, cultural and community values we depend upon to thrive.

    I’ve already given feedback to Mackenzie District Council, why are you asking me again?

    We know that people have recently shared their thoughts with us during the development of the Mackenzie Spatial Plan and the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.  Relevant information from both these engagement processes will feed into the Destination Management Plan but their purposes are quite different.

    Now, we are asking you to think about how you want Mackenzie Basin to look and feel in the next 50-100 years, when your child’s children – and their children – visit our unique region… or call it home. 

    This is an opportunity to achieve a vibrant, dynamic and sustainable future for the Mackenzie based on high quality visitor experiences and our natural landscape, historic, cultural and community values. 

    How much is it costing?

    The Plan has been funded by a grant of $711,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund (Ministry of Business, Industry and Employment) for destination planning in collaboration with the Department of Conservation.