Find out about previous destination management projects DOC has supported.

Arthur’s Pass

In 2019 the first stage of an integrated planning project for Arthur’s Pass and the wider journey along SH73 was initiated. Up to $300,000 of International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) funding was allocated to the project. This came from the MBIE/tourism infrastructure portion of the IVL.

This was at a time pre-COVID-19, when visitor numbers were at record levels. The IVL was predicted to bring in roughly $80 million per annum contributing to the species, places and infrastructure international visitors enjoyed while in Aotearoa.

The Arthur’s Pass project was designed to enable collaborative and multi-agency destination planning in the area. The project involved Ngāi Tūāhuriri, KiwiRail, MBIE Tourism, Waka Kotahi, Selwyn District Council, local community members and other stakeholders.

Given the village’s location at the heart of Arthur’s Pass National Park, it was recognised that heritage and conservation would be central to any decisions. Therefore DOC was best-placed to lead this planning work.

The project saw the huge potential of Arthur’s Pass (the closest national park to a major New Zealand city) in providing a sustainable ‘world class’ ecotourism destination, connecting people with the area’s incredible cultural heritage and nature. It was tasked with providing solid and joined-up thinking for key decisions such as:

  • how to showcase this outstanding natural area;
  • how to make better use of the village’s naturally-constricted footprint; and
  • how to entice visitors to stay longer in the village (wet weather activities, increased accommodation facilities and sustainable transport options).

For DOC, key considerations included:

  • connecting more New Zealanders and others, with the area's natural and cultural heritage;
  • serving the park’s many existing users;
  • how best to provide a visitor information service (following the closure of its earthquake-prone field base in 2019); and
  • opportunities to improve walking tracks, camp sites and other DOC amenities.

Destination and Investment Framework report

The project engaged Stafford Strategy to produce an independent Destination and Investment Framework report. This included key recommendations for the village, national park and other attractions along SH73. The recommendations were made using objective expertise in, and detailed reviews of, the market need and listening to feedback gathered through community and stakeholder interviews and discussions.

The report indicates that Arthurs Pass and the journey along SH73 could, with the right investment and co-ordination, play a far more significant role in providing benefits for both conservation and South Island tourism – including a role in supporting the West Coast’s economic recovery.

Recommendations ranged from enhancements to campsites and walking tracks, to infrastructure away from public conversation land. This included potential for the development of KiwiRail land.

Read the report

Sections of this report have been redacted.

Outcomes and next steps

The world has changed hugely since this project was initiated in 2019 and the current COVID-19 context means that funding for the next steps of this work is constrained. DOC continues to progress with planning work for some of the report recommendations for public conservation land.

The report provides a solid foundation for informing future planning and developments in the village and along SH73, including work already underway. However, Stafford Strategy notes that next steps in this planning work would be to review the proposals from a conservation and iwi perspective.

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