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Ed Said - How important is tourism to Mangawhai?

dadLast week I attended a small gathering to welcome the associate Minister of Tourism Hon Chris Tremain to the north. It was quite informal but there were some interesting figures revealed regarding projections of future travellers to New Zealand. While said projections pertain to Whangarei, every traveller passes the Mangawhai turnoff so thus must be considered a potential ‘contributor’ to the Mangawhai economy.
It’s a numbers game though isn’t it? I know it’s simplistic but the 80/20 equation is still the best guide when evaluating returns in most businesses, ie. 80 percent of your income comes from 20 percent of your customers, but does that equate, and how does it equate to tourism ?
The Chinese, Indian and Indonesian economies are growing rapidly. Their peoples are becoming more westernised and are predicted to swell tourism numbers by millions in the near future.
So, what do we hope to get out of tourism, and, more importantly, what are we prepared to put in to encourage that return?
The possibility of cruise ships to the deep water Marsden Cove is a long-term possibility and though I personally doubt the projection that Marsden City will be home to a population of 30-40,000 in the next 20-30 years it will certainly become a strong growth area as the general population spreads.
Talk of an international airport at Kaitaia is also not new. Travellers could just as easily hire a motorhome from Kaitaia, do the BOI route then head south rather than leave Auckland, drive around the north then drive all the way back to Auckland and beyond. Of course, they are possibly more likely to stop if they pass through our town twice rather than just once. Figures showed improving tourism numbers by 10 percent would bring another $11m annually to the Whangarei economy.
The government is giving a $158m  boost to tourism in New Zealand over the next four years. Mangawhai needs some of that. This is not a large amount to some but the Minister did say that, although he doesn’t control the purse strings, a viable project well lobbied would be an attention-getter and attract a hearing. 
In fact, being closer to Auckland, Mangawhai stands to have first crack at their bulging wallets before they even get to Whangarei BUT what does Mangawhai have that’s any different from anywhere else along the north eastern coastline? What can we do to keep travellers here for just ‘another day’ and how do we service them? To get a return we must first put out.
Is Mangawhai really magical or is that just a convenient coupling of words? What can be done in the near future to highlight Mangawhai, give it a point of ‘magical’ difference and generate a positivity it so badly needs going forward?
First of all it needs a united enthusiastic community – the rest will follow.
When I introduced myself and my connection to Mangawhai the Minister didn’t need any further explanation as he is also the Minister of Local Government and well versed in Mangawhai affairs, but that’s another story.
Good reading and enjoy Queens Birthday weekend.
Rob & the team.


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