Happy New Year to all Coasters! I’m pleased to see the back of the rain-filled 2019, which caused all sorts of trouble for our Region, and to be welcoming in 2020 and the sunshine.
The beginning of a new decade. One that will be filled with many opportunities, and no doubt challenges, that will affect our Region. Looking back over the last decade, it’s been a real mixed bag of good times and bad on the Coast.
Tempus fugit – time flies – and before we know it 2030 will be around the corner. What can we achieve in the next ten years? What will our Region look like? What sectors will be our major employers? What industry will be returning the biggest benefit to our Region? We’ve got so much on offer, and I’m hopeful we will be strongly leveraging our Untamed Natural Wilderness branding and utilising our many natural resources to generate real economic benefits to the Coast.
Some of you will remember a TV campaign from the 80’s – “Don’t leave town till you’ve seen the country”. Here on the Coast we have an enormous number of activities for locals and visitors to enjoy. Over the holiday period, the DWC Tourism Team travelled the length of the Coast, along with local West Coast film and photography talent, producing a new marketing campaign due to be launched.
This DWC-led campaign, supported by special funding from central government, and in conjunction with Tourism NZ, will showcase “West Coast Must Do”. Because we’re more than just scenery - there is so much to do here. As a region we need to capitalise on this and capture the economic benefits available.
For DWC, we begin the decade with a new CEO at the helm. Welcome to Heath Milne, a Coaster returning to his hometown. Starting his career locally and after several years working overseas, Heath returns bringing with him commercial experience, business acumen and, just as important, a real understanding of the Coast. We are kicking off the new decade with much energy and excitement and are looking forward to getting to work on new and existing projects, and hunting out new opportunities, to bring economic benefit to the region.
DWC is committed to working hard to grow business to grow the Coast, however we can’t do this alone, and it’s important we continue to work closely with our regional leaders, councils, business and community groups, and central government.
Established in 2001 with an initial fund of $92m, DWC has directly invested close to $160m into the West Coast economy, while maintaining the fund at $135m to ensure we can continue investing in the region. $160m investment into the West Coast economy – not bad at all! What will our report card look like come 2030?
(DWC Chair - Renee Rooney)
Marketing Campaign to get visitors back to the Coast
The Government is backing a Development West Coast (DWC) led marketing campaign to boost West Coast tourism now that motorists can again travel from Karamea to Queenstown.
The Government is contributing $280,000 towards a DWC marketing campaign to showcase the great things to do throughout the Coast and overcome an immediate reduction in visitor numbers after a section of State Highway 6 was closed earlier this month following a severe weather event.
Chair Renee Rooney says the funding will allow DWC to increase its annual marketing spend by 50 per cent, which will be a significant boost to local tourism businesses.
“Our tourism team is well underway planning a new campaign for the New Year with close input from Tourism New Zealand.
Mrs Rooney says new marketing videos and stills will be shot over the New Year to promote the entire West Coast from Haast to Karamea.
“The campaign targeted at domestic and Australian visitors will highlight people and must do activities on the Coast. Our region is more than just scenery. There are an enormous number of activities people can enjoy on the West Coast.”
“We are grateful to NZ Transport Agency and their subcontractors who have done an amazing job to re-open the road in time for the Christmas holidays.”
“And we are incredibly thankful to the Government for recognising the issue and stepping up to support our marketing campaign.
“DWC was established in 2001 with an initial fund of $92m. Since that time DWC has directly invested close to $160m into the West Coast economy, while maintaining the fund at $135m to ensure we can continue investing in the region.
“He waka eke noa - A canoe which we are all in, with no exception.”
Media release: 20/12/2019
New Zealand’s leading business-to-business travel and trade event, TRENZ, will take place in Christchurch during May 2020.
The West Coast contingent promoting our Untamed Natural Wilderness at the event will be bigger than ever. Fourteen operators have registered for TRENZ 2020, compared to seven in 2019.
West Coast operators attending along with DWC in 2020 are Shantytown Heritage Park, HeliServices New Zealand, Rain Forest Retreat, Maruia Hot Springs, Explore West Coast, Monteith’s Brewery, Wild South, Haast River Safaris, Fox Glacier Guiding, Go Wild Hokitika, Mountain Jade, Wilderness Lodges of New Zealand and West Coast Wildlife Centre.
DWC regional tourism manager Jim Little says, “With many international markets softening now is the time for the West Coast to be much more aggressive with trade marketing. We must allay fears of road closures and rebuild confidence in the West Coast proposition for all markets and their itineraries.”
Punakaiki Beach Camp installs eight new cabins.
The opening of New Zealand’s newest great walk, the Paparoa Track, is also opening new opportunities for West Coast businesses. Local entrepreneurs have been gearing up to take advantage of the expected influx of visitors, walkers and mountain-bikers coming to the Coast for the new track.
The $12 million Department of Conservation (DOC) track spans 55 kilometres of pristine wilderness in the Paparoa mountain range, linking the villages of Blackball and Punakaiki.
The track is already generating significant media interest, both nationally and internationally. The New York Times has ranked the Paparoa Track number 17 on its list of 52 places in the world to visit this year. To help maintain this interest, Development West Coast’s (DWC) tourism team has been busy hosting media familiarisation tours of the track in collaboration with DOC, Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand.
The much-anticipated Paparoa Track will be New Zealand’s first new great walk in over 25 years and is expected to bring large numbers of hikers and mountain-bikers to the region. This interest is reflected in pre-bookings for the track. Close to 80 per cent of bed nights at the track’s huts have already been booked for the year.
The Punakaiki Beach Camp, located at the end of the track in the Paparoa National Park, is one of the many local businesses expecting to benefit from the opening of the new Great Walk.
The Findlay family took over the lease of the Punakaiki Beach Camp six years ago and has not looked back.
“Our focus is on getting people to stay longer and see more of Punakaiki than just the rocks. With the Paparoa Track opening we expect to see more New Zealanders coming to stay with us,” says camp manager Jed Findlay.
Jed and his family have walked six of New Zealand’s Great Walks.
“When organising logistics for a Great Walk we found it was always difficult to find a place where we could instantly book all the things you need besides the hut tickets – things like transport to the start of the track, accommodation, car parking and gear transfers.”
To help meet this need, the Findlays have developed Paparoa Track Services and now run a daily shuttle to Blackball for walkers to start the track.
“They will stay the night before, park their cars in the campsite and jump in the shuttle to start the walk. After three days they will stay again for a much-needed rest.
“DWC have been an amazing helping hand in our developments. They have worked with us through marketing courses, an accountancy course and general advice. All of these were great, but we needed our product to be amazing to match our newly learned marketing skills.
“We realised that we needed more roofed accommodation to host the excited and finally tired walkers.
“DWC have also helped us with commercial finance giving us the opportunity to install eight new cabins alongside the beautiful Pororari River. These will be very popular.
“At the Punakaiki Beach Camp we are very excited about the future in Punakaiki, Buller and the West Coast. New activities such as the Paparoa Track, Kawatiri Trail, Old Ghost Road and the Wilderness Trail will bring a fresh look on life on the West Coast and we can't wait to be part of it!”
Punakaiki Beach Camp
Ph: 03 731 1894
Fashion app wins 2019 West Coast BP Business Challenge.
The BP Business Challenge is a unique three-day learning programme, run by the Young Enterprise Trust, which introduces students to the world of business in a fun and engaging way.
The programme was recently held at Tai Poutini Polytechnic in Greymouth. Support from DWC ensured Year 10 and 11 students from secondary schools across the West Coast could participate in the event.
The BP Business Challenge finished on a high note with mixed-school teams coming up with their own concept, developing it, and pitching their business to five judges.
Passion for Fashion won this year's challenge with their business pitch for a fashion app.
DWC business development manager Dave Lynch, who was one of the judges at the event, said students had been challenged over the three days to think outside of the box while working through various challenges.
“From a DWC perspective, it was encouraging to see the level of creativity and enthusiasm on display from our next generation of entrepreneurs and businesspeople. We look forward to seeing them build on these experiences in the future.”