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Project aims to find optimal tourism visitor model

The Wānaka App

08 July 2024, 5:06 PM

Project aims to find optimal tourism visitor model Understanding the implications of visitor numbers is essential to meet the needs of the community, DSL says. PHOTO: Wānaka App

A project to understand optimal tourism visitation in the Queenstown Lakes region has launched.


A team of researchers from Griffith University has been appointed to lead the project, which will seek to create an optimal visitation model to assist scenario planning and decision-making within the district, the Destination Southern Lakes (DSL) board has announced 



DSL (which is responsible for governance of the district’s destination management plan) has called the project a “world first”.


DSL chair Murray Strong said understanding optimal visitation is “ground-breaking work”.



“At present, there are no comprehensive models that can guide and establish variables in relation to the social, cultural, environmental and economic limits of visitation levels,” he said.


Murray Strong says tourism visitation in the district needs to take into account residential growth, community sentiment, and other factors. PHOTO: Supplied


“Queenstown Lakes is a high growth district with an economy that is dominated by tourism. With a small resident population and high visitor numbers, understanding the implications of visitation is essential for making good decisions and achieving positive outcomes to meet the needs of the community.”


“Visitation in the district needs to be analysed in conjunction with residential growth, community sentiment, worker experience, visitor experience, seasonal changes, environmental degradation/regeneration and cultural context,” he said.



Queenstown Lakes District Council has managed the procurement process on behalf of DSL, and it will be part of the steering group overseeing the project alongside Destination Queenstown and Lake Wānaka Tourism.


Work on the project begins this month.


While the model is being developed specifically for the Queenstown Lakes district, DSL hopes it will produce a prototype that can be shared with other destinations across New Zealand, and around the world, to support regenerative tourism ambition.


Read more: Lessons from Queenstown’s sister city