Council to manage i-SITE Visitor Information Centres from July 1
A new agreement between Taupō District Council and Destination Great Lake Taupō will see the Taupō and Turangi i-SITES brought back under council management from July 1, 2020.
With New Zealand’s borders remaining closed to international visitors for the foreseeable future, council chief executive Gareth Green said the decision was made to create better efficiencies leading into a tough 12 months ahead.
“We are seeing i-SITES around the country closing their doors completely, however, we didn’t want to see that here and we remain committed to supporting one of our most important industries,” he said.
“We do have a commitment to our ratepayers though. In the 2018/19 year, council subsidised the i-SITES by $304,000 and with no international visitors for the foreseeable future and revenue continuing to decline, there was an opportunity to create better operational efficiencies by running the district’s i-SITES as part of the council’s customer service operations.
“This will also support us in keeping on our promise to deliver a zero per cent general rates rise for the coming financial year, helping to ease the burden on our ratepayers during an economic downturn,” he said.
Destination Great Lake Taupō Chairman Ray Salter said the decision will help reduce the amount of financial exposure for the organisation, particularly in the current tourism environment.
“Visitor numbers to the i-SITES were declining in the months prior to Covid-19, and the subsequent closure of New Zealand’s borders only further signified that our current operation needed to change,” he said.
“Integrating with the council customer services team is a good outcome and enables us to continue to serve domestic visitors in the short term and be ready to welcome international visitors once our borders reopen.”
Council will relocate its customer service centres to the i-SITE visitor centres in the coming months.