20 May 2018
GUIDES INTO SUSTAINABILITY
Amidst the bustle and jubilations of graduation week there was a lot of hard work being done in Dunedin this weekend.
ProGuides New Zealand, the country's association of professional tour guides, this year chose Dunedin for its annual conference. The theme was “Sustainability in Tourism”, PGNZ’s follow through on the Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s call for commitment to this important industry challenge.
Local guest speakers to the meeting included Prof James Higham, the University of Otago's expert in sustainability in tourism. He spoke about the fact NZ is facing one of the biggest challenges in the history of the industry as tourism megatrends filter through to our shores. He stressed the importance of NZ being prepared.
The ProGuides sustainability workshop reiterated that cohesion in the industry is of the utmost importance. “Central and local government agencies need to work more closely to provide adequate and timely infrastructure in the cities and regions”, says Wilhelm Lehmberg, ProGuides Chair. “Sustainability is not just about encouraging visitors to reuse shopping bags and coffee cups – it’s also about agencies like DOC working at nationwide level to get the best value from the funds available. Buy local, yes, but plan and purchase rationally."
"All this aside", said Mr Lehmberg, "the most important message coming out of the weekend was the importance of sustaining visitor satisfaction by imparting local knowledge through professional local tour guides such as our members."
The other guest speaker, Mike Lord, Dunedin City councillor, spoke on sustainability issues faced by the Otago rural community and using technology to sustaining responsible land management. He mentioned that Dunedin was well aware of the challenges it faces in tourism, especially as cruise ship numbers are set to increase significantly over the coming years.
On Sunday, delegates took a walking tour around the redeveloping warehouse district and viewed the exciting inner harbour proposals. The weekend finished with a visit to Port Chalmers and Orokonui Eco Sanctuary.
Chair, ProGuides New Zealand