April 22, 2009
Advertisements for a chief executive for Destination Marlborough
(DM) are being placed seeking inquiries to the board, who
will conduct the recruitment process.
Former DM ceo Dr Dominic Moran, after seven years in regional
tourism organisations (rtos), decided he wanted to pursue
a career in private enterprise, and gave the chair “ample
warning – measured in weeks” he wanted to move
on after Easter. There were no policy disagreements, and no
pressure from either side says DM board chairman Mr Joe Ferraby.
Amongst the developments coinciding with DM’s management
transition is the public consultation submission period, closing
7 May, on the Draft 2009-19 Marlborough District Council Community
Marlborough District Council (MDC) tourism activity is delivered
by DM, a charitable trust and a “Council controlled
organisation, established for the purpose of promoting and
marketing Marlborough as a visitor destination to national
and international tourism”.
DM’s vision is “by 2010, Marlborough will be
recognised nationally and internationally as a preferred place
for New Zealanders and people from overseas to visit, enjoy
and experience. This will be achieved by a strong and coherent
Mr Ferraby, a Marlborough farmer and director of meat, wine,
rural supply and finance companies, has been chair of Destination
Marlborough for around two years. Acting DM ceo Tracy Johnston,
a DM board member, is also marketing manager of the Classic
New Zealand Wine Trail she describes as an “international
marketing initiative”, and marketed the 2008 launch
of the Water and Wilderness Festival.
Does Destination Marlborough put enough into marketing?
“We have a limited budget, and seek the best results
we can” says Mr Ferraby.
The financial resources DM gets are based on allocations from
the MDC, and its targeted rate. Other revenues come from the
International Marketing Group, a membership-based group limited
to 25 Marlborough operators.
Support from operator advertising also assists with the development
of the official Marlborough region website. Tourism New Zealand’s
site directs visitors to it.
Internationally DM works with travel wholesalers and retailers
to educate and improve their ability to sell Marlborough product
to clients says Ms Johnston.
Mr Ferraby says DM aims to cooperate particularly with Christchurch,
Kaikoura, Huranui, Nelson and Wellington “for the good
of all our regions”. Ms Johnston adds that this collaboration
is at an international level, not domestic marketing. We work
closely with Nelson to market the top of the South in long
haul markets, US, UK and Europe.
Talks are now being held with Positively Wellington Tourism
for resourcing inclusion of a day, or day and night Marlborough
components in greater Wellington packages.
Australia, UK and Europe are our primary focus says Ms Johnston.
Domestically Destination Marlborough focussed efforts this
year on supporting AA’s campaign as well as producing
and distributing the official visitor guide for the region
which is available at i-SITE visitor centres throughout the
country says Ms Johnston.
DM runs two i SITES, which, as do many other i-SITES, make
Improvement of the Blenheim i-SITE is a matter MDC has said
in its LTCCP consultation, is a matter for consideration.
Blenheim i-SITE enhancements, advocated in a recent Destination
Marlborough submission to MDC, could include participation
by Iwi, the Department of Conservation, Wine Marlborough and
some other participants says Mr Ferraby. MDC’s LTCCP
consultation summary says “the upgrade will provide
an enhanced information facility with a cafe and retail space
that can increase awareness of the local tourism offer, generate
more income from sales”.
The Blenheim and Picton i-SITES are the commercial shop front
of Destination Marlborough showcasing and retailing tourism
product in the region says Ms Johnston.
Events management, says the draft LTCCP, is delivered by the
Marlborough Festival and Events Trust. “The economic
activity associated with events is becoming an increasingly
important part of the regional economy, in particular the
tourism sector. The main challenge
is to keep events relevant and interesting in times of changing
The local rto is looking forward to working with Marlborough
for Fun, another MDC entity, to develop a regional events
In DM’s efforts to promote tourism it seeks more visitors
during the “shoulder” seasons, the two months
before and after the October to April peak season.
A new “winter warmers” campaign is an initiative
developed by a group of operators in the Marlborough Sounds.
Destination Marlborough has been working to help raise the
profile of the campaign says Ms Johnston.
Destination Marlborough will again support plans to mount
the Water and Wilderness campaign during Spring weekends this
year says Mr Ferraby. Ms Johnston says the form and whether
it will happen are subject to confirmation.
DM also invests in conference marketing, which provides a
significant local spin off.
The draft LTCCP says the key issue facing DM is “how
to ensure Marlborough’s tourism growth equals or exceeds
Council and community stakeholders, as well as Destination
Marlborough, are partners in influencing the outcome.