Enjoy our tracks and trails this autumn, latest data on visitor spending and other business news 25 March 2021 We had strong visitor spending over summer, with the focus now turning to making sure our tourism and hospitality industry continues to be well supported over autumn and winter, especially as we are coming up to Easter and the school holidays. There are so many activities for you to do over the cooler months, including cycling and walking, which you can read about in our Track and Trails section below. The latest announcement from the Government on its housing initiative has benefits for Coromandel as Council signs off on a housing initiative project this week. In this Economic Development newsletter: Government's housing initiative - benefits for the Coromandel January visitor spending - a significant increase from the previous month Te Waka business support Tracks and trails news Support for Coromandel businesses Events and the impact of COVID-19 Destination Coromandel's autumn campaign Waikato Food Inc upcoming events Economic Development Transport Investment Plan Te Ariki/Sugarloaf Wharf and Kōpū Marine Business Precinct developments Thames Airfield development Government's new housing initiative - the benefits for our District In the Government’s housing package announced this week, there is a $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund, which would see it picking up the tab for infrastructure costs like roading and pipes – works that are key to releasing land for development. “In regard to the planning framework, the Government’s announcement is also timely - as this week our Council just signed off progress on identifying land for significant housing developments within the next 12 months within the Thames Ward,” says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. “Thames is one of our main centres, where there hasn’t been any housing stock growth for more than three decades and we’ve got developers looking here with loads of interest but wanting more certainly about planning and future infrastructure.” You can read our news release on the Government's housing initiative on our website. January visitor spending - a significant increase from the previous month (Graph: Spending in our District over January) Spending in our District in January 2021 was $49.51 million, a 44.2 per cent increase compared to December 2020 and a 4.3 per cent decrease from the same time the previous year. The absence of international visitors is obvious in the spending for January; however, the domestic market kept the tourism industry going over the summer with 97.9 per cent of the spending coming from locals. An average number of 1,195,741 transactions were completed during the month, a 59.4 per cent increase in transactions from December 2020 but a 2.5 per cent decrease in transactions from the previous year. Of the total visitor spending for January, 97.9 per cent of spending was domestic spending and only 2.1 per cent international - showing how Kiwis carried the tourism industry this summer. 76 per cent of spending during January 2021 was in relation to retail trade and 24 per cent in the food and beverage industry. In the district, Whitianga saw the largest share of the money with 25.6 per cent of the total spend and Whangamatā was a close second with24.5 per cent. “We’ve got to focus on the positive here, that our local tourism and hospitality sector was supported over peak summer,” says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. “We know the Coromandel always does well over summer. It's heading into the winter seasons where we need to keep up the promotion and support of local activities and tourism products, which our Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) Destination Coromandel has marketing campaigns prepared to get people here.” See further down in this release for what Destination Coromandel has planned for our autumn/winter marketing campaign. Get around our Tracks and Trails We have many tracks and trails around the Coromandel for walking and cycling, with many more under development. Here’s an update on a few projects: Coromandel Town Bike Park update (Above: Aerial view of the new pump track) Do you have bikes and want to enjoy a day out with your family? Visit the Coromandel Town Bike Park. The park has mountain bike trails, gravity jumps and an awesome pump track. It's suitable for all ages and all levels of riders so take the whole family, not to mention it’s within coffee-riding distance to Coromandel Town when you decide you need a break. A bike wash-down area has recently been completed along with storm water/drainage areas and kauri dieback wash stations. The Department of Conservation (DOC) will be installing its own wash stations, signage and guidance gates later in March. The pump track was finished at the end of last year and the car park has also now been completed. Read more about the Bike Park here. Pauanui-Tairua Trail update The Pauanui-Tairua Trail (right) is a scenic trail running along the banks of the Tairua River. It starts at the waterways in Pauanui and heads towards Hikuai with plans for it to head towards Tairua. The trail can be walked and cycled, allowing anyone to use it. This season pack a picnic and enjoy a scenic walk along the Tairua River. The first two stages are now complete and construction work is resuming on the third stage of the trail along the banks of the Tairua River. Work started in early March with a 1.8km section of the trail starting close to Prescott’s Garage working towards Pauanui. Watch the flyover video of the trail here. Hauraki Rail Trail One section (section B) of the Hauraki Rail Trail goes from Thames to Paeroa, through Kōpū. While you ride this trail, you can enjoy stunning farm scenery and stop off at cafes, cheese factories or wineries along the way. As the weather begins to cool and we come into the Easter and school holiday period, it’s the perfect time to start planning your next ride. If you’re stuck with what to do over Easter, grab your bikes and ride the section of the rail trail, starting or finishing in Thames. Enjoy the sights and don’t forget to support local and stop in at the Matatoki Cheese Barn for a snack. Find out more here. Want to go for a walk or ride in the Coromandel? Our tracks and trails guide is available on our website, or you can pick it up from one of our Council service centres or information centres. Support for Coromandel businesses If you need support or to bounce your ideas off a mentor, you have access to help through our Regional Economic Development agency Te Waka. Te Waka runs free, drop-in clinics around our district. You can get access to a mentor, who has excellent knowledge on a range of business topics, such as finance, business continuity, HR and more. The next session will be held on Wednesday 14 April in Whitianga at the Mercury Bay Business Association. These sessions are held every second month in Whitianga. Find out more here. Te Waka also has business growth advisors that visit our district once a month, every first Tuesday of the month. These advisors take a birds-eye look at your whole business, then help to connect with the right resources and people to build capacity. The next visit is Tuesday 6 April at the Thames Council service centre. If you need business advice and support email firstname.lastname@example.org or register your interest here. You can find out more about Te Waka at waikato.com. Events and the impact of COVID-19 With recent alert level changes and lockdowns in Auckland, many events in our District have had to be postponed or cancelled. However, we are full steam ahead for Repco Beach Hop starting this week. Repco Beach Hop took the festival to Thames for the first time with the Repco Power Cruise today, Thursday 25 March. Pollen Street was closed for the cars arriving from Whangamatā and hundreds of people checked out the classic cars, packed the shops and cafes and listened to live music. The full Repco Beach Hop programme of events is on their website. Find out about cancelled and postponed events as well as other events in our district on our website. Destination Coromandel updates Where Kiwis Holiday Campaign Our District’s first ever summer campaign “Where Kiwis Holiday” has been successful so far. Overall, spend for the entire year (ending January 2021) was up 1 per cent from the year before to a total of $286 million. The next phase of the campaign will be pushed ahead of Easter and the April school holidays with activities and packages that are also aligned with Tourism New Zealand. Tourism operators, please remember to list your exciting deals and packages on newzealand.com and thecoromandel.com. Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia Recent news indicates the possibility of a trans-Tasman bubble, something that is eagerly anticipated by our communities and our local businesses. Tourism NZ is well-prepared for this and now is a good time for tourism operators to: Check your trade contacts have wholesale rates for the next two years Consider signing up to the Tourism Trade Checklist Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP) project update The STAPP project has a range of different programmes and projects in place to boost and promote tourism in our District. This includes the Gold Heritage Programme, Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, Whangamatā Ridges Mt Bike Park, Regenerative Tourism and the Signature Event Marketing Fund which has now closed but the recipients of this funding are below. More information on the STAPP project can be found here. Marketing Webinars Maverick Digital is running an online workshop to help businesses get their digital game plan underway. Find out more and register here. Signature Events Marketing Fund Recipients Events in The Coromandel will receive a boost this year as marketing packages were granted to four events after applications were considered by the fund review panel. Each of the four successful applicants was allocated one of the $12,000 packages offered by the Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO), with the aim of stimulating domestic travel. The events which received this funding are: Solarpunk Aotearoa, Thames Tairua Boat Show Whitianga Marathon Whitianga Scallop Festival Learn more about Destination Coromandel and other promotions at thecoromandel.com. The Coromandel supports Waikato Food Inc We’re right behind Waikato Food Inc in their vision to support the hospitality industry in any way possible. By showcasing products, supporting your events, running competitions and marketing, they support you each step of the way. Find out more about what it means to become a member and sign up on their website. Waikato Progressive Dinner Waikato Food Inc is back at it again with this year’s progressive dinner next Wednesday 31 March. This year, the dinner starts at Hamilton’s Mr Pickles with delicious canapes before heading to Sky City, Palate and then ending the evening at the town’s newest hot spot – Cream Eatery. Find out more and purchase your tickets here. Wanted - Food trucks and stall Another event coming up is Feast Waikato from Thursday 1 April – Monday 5 April. Waikato Food Inc is looking for all things Italian – pizza makers, pasta makers and food trucks. If you’re interested, email email@example.com for more information. Other Economic Development work our Council is involved in Late last year our Council signed off on the Transport Investment Plan, which identifies a list of potential initiatives and projects which could be pursued – provided it has full investment from external funding channels. None of the initiatives in the Transport Plan has any budget allocated in the upcoming 2021-2031 Long Term Plan but could be put forward for opportunities through government/external funding if, and when, they are made available. The main four initiatives in the Plan are: Resilience Waka Kotahi/TCDC Joint Transport Network Programme Business Case Walking and cycling/Connectivity/Public Transport/TCDC Mode Shift Strategy and Programme Business Case Safety and amenity/Visitor transport infrastructure improvements Freight Feasibility study for an east coast freight hub to complement the existing hub in Kōpū and provide resilience to the east coast Read more about this plan on our website. Kōpū Marine Precinct update (Right: Proposed plans for the Kōpū Marine Precinct) This is the development of a working commercial wharf, hardstand and boat ramp thanks to an $8.2 million grant from the Government. Our project team has assessed all the Requests for Interest for the construction work, with the intent to go out to tender in April to the short list of preferred contractors. The tender process is running concurrently with our application for a fast-track resource consent, which we expect a decision on by mid-July. Planned staging of construction begins in July, which starts with forming new roading at King St and the hardstand build. The marine work is planned to start at the end of September. Completion of the boat ramp is anticipated to be done by Christmas and the wharf by May 2022. All things going well we hope to have everything completed by July 2022. You can find out more about the project here. Te Ariki Tahi/Sugarloaf Wharf upgrade (Above: Proposed design for Te Ariki Tahi/Sugarloaf Wharf) The project will see the wharf platform extended and raised to account for rising sea levels. There will be four new berths for increased commercial mussel activity and a separate facility for launching for recreational boats. Following feedback from public open-days and targeted stakeholder meetings late last year, the project team needed to do further work on technical studies including additional noise and traffic data collection. There’s also been more work done on dredging requirements, stormwater analysis and cultural impact reports. All this information is to be reviewed by the relevant organisations including our Council, Waikato Regional Council (WRC), Department of Conservation (DOC) and iwi. This has meant that the plan to lodge resource consent applications by the end of 2020 has been pushed to March. Read more about the project here. Thames Airfield development Request for tenders to lease land for aircraft hangars at Thames Airfield Our Council is calling for tenders to lease ground space at Sir Keith Park Memorial Airfield in Thames to build aircraft hangars.Tenderers should complete the Request for Tender form, available on our website and return it by post no later than 4pm Friday 30 April. Development at the airfield will be staged, with the first lease sites available for hangars only. The second stage will involve establishment of accommodation hangars and commercial activities. In keeping with the airfield designation of the land under our Council’s District Plan, all activities in the airfield precinct, including accommodation hangars and commercial development, must be aviation related. "This is such an exciting development for the airfield and for Thames,” says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. “Council staff have been working very closely with airfield users to get the conditions right for the airfield to be used to its maximum potential. We’re cleared for take-off!” Development plans for Thames Airfield Six sites will initially be available to be leased with more to become available later, as will 20 residential hangar sites and land for commercial activity. Infrastructure including a small internal roading network, parking, water, wastewater and stormwater control will be developed. Find out more on our website.