Major concerns as visitor destination plan goes into final stages

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    Public consultation methodologies used by Auckland Council consultants Stafford Strategy in preparing a key strategic visitor plan for Waiheke were inadequate, unprofessional and consequently ineffective, Waiheke lobby group Project Forever Waiheke told the Waiheke Local Board at its December meeting.

    Members of the group told the board they had repeatedly raised concerns about the appropriateness of Auckland Council’s Tātaki Auckland Unlimited tourism CCO having commissioned the Waiheke Destination Management Plan from the Australian-based company specialising in tourism planning, and with very little prior expertise in destination management planning that aims to mitigate over-tourism.

    The Project Forever Waiheke group aims to identify the impacts of tourism on the island, both beneficial and potentially harmful, to promote strategy to help address and manage problems associated with tourism, and to promote tourism sympathetic to Waiheke’s environments.

    Spokespeople Dr Pam Oliver and Dr Robin Kearns addressed the board and tabled the group’s submission to the plan that is due to be released in March.

    “In particular we are disturbed at the evident failure of Stafford Strategy to consult adequately, genuinely or validly with the Waiheke community in relation to developing a plan that would reflect diverse community views.

    “In particular, it failed to give residents a genuine opportunity to take part in the initial community workshops in 2021, which were held at inaccessible times for the majority of employed Waiheke residents and held during a very confined period,” they said.

    Full story in this week’s Gulf News…. Out Now!!!

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