|dc.description.abstract||A regional tourism project was commissioned by Katolyst, the Waikato Economic Development Agency, to assess the following: What is meant by regional tourism; the current views of industry stakeholders within the tourism and hospitality sectors; major issues, drivers, and obstacles facing tourism and pathways to address them, including industry capabilities and new opportunities for industry growth.
The purpose of this research was to record the voice of tourism operators and stakeholders at the grass roots, to identify the specific issues facing the Waikato. Visitors do not focus on geographical or political boundaries, but rather are seeking an experience that transcends these boundaries.
The region is generally ignorant of the significant economic impacts of the tourism sector, and education and advocacy is urgently needed. Tourism should not be seen in isolation to other key economic generators for the region, and there is potential for cross sector regional initiatives between tourism and other major sectors within the Waikato that could lead to cross sector strategic growth.
The Waikato is a significant player in international visitor expenditure (7th out of 30 tourism regions), although the forecasted growth to 2012 for the Waikato is less than the national average. Although the Australian visitor market is significant for Hamilton International Airport, it comprises just 2% of all Australian visitors to New Zealand. Domestic visitors are the major driver of visitor expenditure in the region, with domestic visitor expenditure in the Waikato the third highest among the 30 tourism regions in New Zealand. Events are a driver, yet there is a perception that there is a lack of coordination and regional linkages.
i-SITEs are inadequately funded and can rely on non-visitor revenue streams. There is a need to improve tourism expertise and knowledge to facilitate product development, especially getting current and potential tourism product export ready and to understand the distribution channels for domestic and international marketing. Most operators in the region are small owner operated firms with a few medium sized firms. A number are lacking tourism sector knowledge and business capabilities.||en_US