Jan 14, 2009
Havelock is strategically located near Marlborough’s
potential growth tourism attractions - wilderness, water,
wine and seafood. Havelock’s trademark is the Greenshell
Mussel Capital of the World.
One Havelock businessperson who is keen to foster local development,
but recognizes the limited resources small businesses can
contribute, would like the Marlborough District Council to
convene a forum to assemble ideas for tourism development.
If the authorities hear her call, they could reinforce and
be reinforced by good things happening.
“There is a need for better coordination in the tourism
industry and better networking with other economic sectors
to promote tourism in the region”, according to more
than half the respondents reported in Seafood New Zealand
magazine’s report on what’s happening with tourism
and seafood in the Top of the South. Only a third agreed “the
marketing efforts for our region are well coordinated”.
Coordination calls for local as well as national leadership,
and the willingness of people to lean over their fences to
people in their neighbourhood. Under normal conditions, coordination
is important for tourism development. Under current difficult
conditions, it could help to concentrate limited marketing
fire power on domestic and other markets that might hold up.
Events, trails, good governance and other cooperation show
what can be done.
On 21st March Havelock will have its fifth annual Mussel
Festival, one of a growing number of events in the Destination
Marlborough area created by people working together.
Pelorus and other Sounds’ wilderness and water attractions,
to be promoted for the October slow season for the second
time by a group fostered by Portage Resort, are readily accessed
from the growing marina in Havelock.
The neighbouring wine trail concentration of wineries and
restaurants on the “Great New Zealand Wine Trail”
is only 20 minutes drive from Havelock. There are more attractions
and jumping off points within an hour’s drive or boat
Now that the Havelock Service Station is reopened people
who get their essential services from the small port town
are noticing visitors are stopping over again.
Tourism researchers and the Marine Farmers Association (MFA)
are evaluating the linkages between seafood and tourism created
by the Top of the South Aquaculture and Seafood Trail. The
trail links 21 businesses, primarily in Blenheim, Havelock,
Picton and Nelson, promoted through a brochure they helped
finance and distribute.
However, strategic promotion of locally caught seafood through
value-added tourism products and opportunities is relatively
new for the Nelson/Marlborough region, a destination that
is becoming increasingly recognized as a leader in wine and
food tourism say Seafood New Zealand’s researchers.
They say the seafood trail can be an “innovative driver”
for linking aquaculture, commercial fishing and tourism. The
marine farms and commercial fishing ports are not commonly
used to promote the area as a tourist destination.
“In addition, it is somewhat difficult to purchase
fresh local seafood other than in restaurants, even though
this is New Zealand’s most important salmon and mussel
farming area” the researchers say.
Locals do not believe “their region has received adequate
technical and financial support on tourism and industry trends
in the past”.
However, some individuals and organizations in, around and
affecting Havelock are working at building events, trails,
investments and other forms of cooperation.
The Marine Farming Association, whose CEO has suggested marine
farming of blue cod in Pelorus, has presented some options
worth considering by others.
Destination Marlborough has recently brought a representative
of Wine Marlborough onto its board – a positive contribution
to expanding the focus of both sectors.
Pelorus Promotions, with members operating geographically
remote tourism accommodation, allied transport, retail and
other services, is a logical early reference point for planning
the agenda for a forum on tourism development for Havelock
and its neighborhood. Marlborough Regional Development Trusts’
Regional Development Strategy provides guidance for cooperation.
Local authorities, their ratepayers and central government
are amongst those who also need to decide whether they want
the Marlborough District Council to build up its tourism investment.
“Tourism is an industry that the government believes
has the capacity to help the country weather the international
recession" associate tourism minister Jonathan Coleman
said on 8 January 2008.
Could a Marlborough District Council tourism development
forum – and preparatory work on its agenda – foster
more productive coordination – and local ingredients
in a bold national tourism plan of action Tourism New Zealand
wants to discuss with the Prime Minister?