Merger 'a slap in the face' for Tourism Eastland

The council endeavours to save costs where there are synergies.

The council endeavours to save costs where there are synergies.

TOURISM Eastland life member Penny Shaw described plans to have tourism management included under the control of Activate Tairawhiti as a “slap in the face” at a Gisborne District Council meeting.

But Activate Tairawhiti chairman John Rae said they had operated on the basis that the service level agreement for all economic development would be handed over to them on July 1, 2017, and they believed this was the right thing to do.

Both groups were speaking in the public forum section of this week’s meeting at which a decision was made to include tourism management and development as part of a single three-year contract with Activate Tairawhiti.

The council agreed to the staff recommendation but added a condition that Activate Tairawhiti collaborate with Tourism Eastland as it negotiated the contract with council staff.

Tourism Eastland president David Sly said they supported council’s endeavours to save costs where there were synergies.

But he asked for an assurance that Tourism Eastland be a named recipient in the tourism funding of the agreement.

He pointed out that the council funded only 37 percent of Tourism Eastland, which was a not-for-profit organisation with its own board and building from which the i-Site operates.

While they supported the Air New Zealand marketing campaign, less than 10 percent of tourists arrived by air.

He proposed a structure under which the two groups could appoint a tourism manager. That would achieve the continuity required in the council report and create an alignment between the two agencies.

Penny Shaw said what was best for the region was for Tourism Eastland to continue as the organisation that was more efficient and effective in providing tourism services.

After 30 years working extremely hard and representing the region nationally and internationally, this was “a slap in the face” that that they were to be dropped totally.

Mr Rae said the process leading to to this situation had been tumultuous.

“We don’t think this has been a particularly good process from anyone’s perspective,”he said. “We must acknowledge this kind of stuff is difficult.

If the region really wanted to get its fair share in the massive upsurge in regional tourism, together with the economic benefits, Activate Tairawhiti was confident the pain would be worthwhile.

The amalgamation would require them to have someone with knowledge of economic development and tourism who would be a capable board member.

They were talking to someone from outside the region.

TOURISM Eastland life member Penny Shaw described plans to have tourism management included under the control of Activate Tairawhiti as a “slap in the face” at a Gisborne District Council meeting.

But Activate Tairawhiti chairman John Rae said they had operated on the basis that the service level agreement for all economic development would be handed over to them on July 1, 2017, and they believed this was the right thing to do.

Both groups were speaking in the public forum section of this week’s meeting at which a decision was made to include tourism management and development as part of a single three-year contract with Activate Tairawhiti.

The council agreed to the staff recommendation but added a condition that Activate Tairawhiti collaborate with Tourism Eastland as it negotiated the contract with council staff.

Tourism Eastland president David Sly said they supported council’s endeavours to save costs where there were synergies.

But he asked for an assurance that Tourism Eastland be a named recipient in the tourism funding of the agreement.

He pointed out that the council funded only 37 percent of Tourism Eastland, which was a not-for-profit organisation with its own board and building from which the i-Site operates.

While they supported the Air New Zealand marketing campaign, less than 10 percent of tourists arrived by air.

He proposed a structure under which the two groups could appoint a tourism manager. That would achieve the continuity required in the council report and create an alignment between the two agencies.

Penny Shaw said what was best for the region was for Tourism Eastland to continue as the organisation that was more efficient and effective in providing tourism services.

After 30 years working extremely hard and representing the region nationally and internationally, this was “a slap in the face” that that they were to be dropped totally.

Mr Rae said the process leading to to this situation had been tumultuous.

“We don’t think this has been a particularly good process from anyone’s perspective,”he said. “We must acknowledge this kind of stuff is difficult.

If the region really wanted to get its fair share in the massive upsurge in regional tourism, together with the economic benefits, Activate Tairawhiti was confident the pain would be worthwhile.

The amalgamation would require them to have someone with knowledge of economic development and tourism who would be a capable board member.

They were talking to someone from outside the region.

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