Energy, Dairy and Tourism?

21 July 2017

Should Taranaki increase its share of New Zealand’s tourism pie? 

New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) is considering whether to focus more on tourism, as a major plank of the region’s economy, alongside the giants of energy and dairy.

Currently visitors make just over a million trips a year to Taranaki and the questions needs to be asked, should our region take advantage of our top-two in the world accolade from international travel guide publisher Lonely Planet and ride the wave of investment in the Pouakai Crossing, the State Highway 3 upgrade at Mt Messenger and New Plymouth Airport?

“We have enormous potential. That’s why Lonely Planet put us on the global tourist map as one of the top-two regions in the world to visit,” Mayor Neil Holdom.

“Keeping ourselves on the tourist map means more opportunities for our people, more visitors, more jobs and a more secure future.”

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, visitors make just over a million trips a year to Taranaki, spending about $340 million a year. 

“What if we could double this?” asks Councillor Stacey Hitchcock.  “Adding another major pillar to our economy, alongside energy and agriculture, will keep the tills ringing and support our lifestyle.”

There is enormous potential in telling the stories of our past – including the Taranaki Wars and New Zealand’s oldest stone church. Working with neighbouring districts could see the creation of tourist trails – for example, visitors to Waitomo could be directed to Mokau, then to the Three Sisters, the White Cliffs and so on.

DOC has started to help make the Pouakai Crossing a walk of national significance – one that is on a par with the Tongariro Crossing – and the NZ Transport Agency will ensure our connection to Auckland and the rest of the North Island is even stronger with an improved highway around the Awakino Gorge and Mount Messenger.

Should NPDC be doing more to grow the tourism sector and Destination Taranaki? A survey is online at for people to share their thoughts – and everyone who completes the survey goes in the draw to win an iPad!