'Southern Way' initiative and website showcases the exceptional touring network ready for visitors wanting to explore the scenic southern regions of New Zealand.
The initiative is the result of collaboration by eight southern regional tourism organisations (RTO’s) to collectively celebrate and share more about the depth and breadth of visitor experiences in the lower south of New Zealand.
Designed to inform and inspire visitors to slow down, explore further, stay longer and ultimately return, the content features places of interest, suggested itineraries and a wide-ranging set of world class experiences.
"Visitors don’t see local boundaries and encouraging people to move around between our regions, travel slowly, engage with our communities and explore further is another step towards our collective goal of welcoming a high-contributing and more sustainable visitor market” said Sarah O’Donnell, Marketing Director at Destination Queenstown.
Communities in the partnering areas of Waitaki, Wanaka, Queenstown, Central Otago, Dunedin, Clutha, Southland, and Fiordland have each provided input into the creation of destination management plans outlining priorities and wishes for the future of tourism in their place.
These plans now form the basis for how RTOs are working, with a transition from purely traditional destination marketing to also embracing the role of managing their destinations in line with community aspirations. “Helping visitors to understand the value of taking time to explore this spectacular southern corner of New Zealand more deeply ensures that we are supporting a more sustainable future for tourism in the south,” said Mark Frood, General Manager Tourism and Events at Great South.
In 2018, the late Graham Budd (CEO of Great South and previously Destination Queenstown) initiated the proposal for the project having had a long held wish for regions to work more closely together. “It is a proud day for our combined regions to see Graham’s wishes come to life through this project,” said Mark.
Funding for the development of the Southern Way collaboration was supported by MBIE through Covid recovery funding with the project managed under the leadership of Great South, Southland Regional Development Agency.
“We were tasked with taking a new approach towards inspiring visitors' travel patterns and it is exciting to see this project finally come to life. We are proud to bring our regions together to offer truly awe-inspiring experiences for our visitors,” he said.