25 June 2008

Kaikohe banking on Bay of Islands to bring in the tourism dollars

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The Bay of Islands, a global icon for travellers, is becoming part of the solution to reinvent tourism in Kaikohe in the Northland of New Zealand. Strategic proposals could distribute the 1.7 million overnight visitors to the region every year more fairly, reports the Northern News.

Northland Tourism plans to create a scenic route that stems from the Bay of Islands and carries through to the Hokianga, with signs due to be erected by the end of the year.  The Enterprise Northland Tourism Development Group and Destination Northland held a meeting last week to discuss how the highway between these two destinations could be marketed to capitalise on the high volume of tourists visiting the Bay of Islands every year.  According to the news provider, they believe the 1.7 million overnight visitors to the region every year can be distributed evenly and shared with Kaikohe, the historical heart of the Northland.

Kaikohe is said to be the centre for the largest iwi, or Maori tribe, in New Zealand.  The iwi has a history that dates back thousands of years, and the town is looking to market this to travellers in New Zealand.  “We need to focus on our history, because we are the cradle of New Zealand,” said Heather Ayrton of the Pioneers Village committee.

The town committees are also considering marketing the local geothermal resources to reinvent Kaikohe like the famous Rotorua, which attracts millions of visitors every year to see and smell its hot springs.   David Perks, Chairman of the Enterprise Northland Tourism Development Group, said the town can also provide authentic cultural experience that international visitors on New Zealand visas hope to enjoy. 

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