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New visitor website showcases Thames attractions

13 December 2016

Home page of Thames visitor website

Everything that makes Thames unique has been captured in a new website to market our district's biggest town to visitors. Go to www.thamesinfo.co.nz to check out what there is to see and do in and around Thames.

The new website (www.thamesinfo.co.nz) is up and running and will be publicly launched at the Business After 5 at the GBD on Pollen Street in Thames on Tuesday 13 December at 5:30pm.

The website is one of the outputs of the Thames Promotions Project and has come about after months of planning and collaboration between the Thames Community Board, local business people and other interested parties, and tourism industry consultants Visitor Solutions.

"The Thames Community Board is pleased to launch the new Thames promotion website," says Community Board Chair Diane Connors. "Our goal is to ensure that the Thames area is promoted and seen as a visitor destination in its own right.

"Tourism and the visitor industry is a key opportunity for economic growth. It is an ideal way of bringing more dollars into our community without the cost of a lot of extra infrastructure and development," Ms Connors says. "Thames has a real buzz at the moment and it is a very exciting time for us all."

How the website came about

The idea of promoting Thames has been around for years but in 2013 it gained real momentum. The Thames Focus Group was tasked with developing a dynamic urban strategy that would change Thames from being the gateway to the Coromandel to a destination in its own right.

The Thames Focus Group was a formal subcommittee of the Thames Community Board with the mandate to bring together past community input, heritage, inspirational urban design and realistic business planning to produce a strategy for the future of Thames.

With the input of the community, the Thames Urban Development Strategy was born (www.tcdc.govt.nz/tuds). One of the key areas of focus identified was that Thames be "open for transformation" and find its unique brand.

Building on this, the Thames Community Board approved $90,000 per annum for three years in the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan for the Thames Promotions Project. Proposals were called for and a Stakeholder Working Group formed to evaluate the proposals and recommend to the Thames Community Board which one should be accepted.

Visitor Solutions was awarded the contract in November 2015 and they identified that a top-notch website promoting Thames needed to be up and running in the first year of the project.

The result is www.thamesinfo.co.nz. There is information about Thames, how to get there, accommodation and food, listings of things to do and see, and suggested itineraries.

"The website is great, not only because it's showcasing Thames, but because it's also showing people that work is progressing on the Thames Promotion Project," says Heather Moore, a Thames businesswoman who is on the Stakeholder Working Group.

 "It's really exciting we're seeing this before the end of the year because it has been a year now since Visitor Solutions was hired to promote Thames," Ms Moore says.

"A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to develop long-term promotion strategies for Thames and over the next year we hope to see more," she says. "The website is a small part of the Thames Promotion Project, but it's an important one."

Six pillars of the Thames Promotions Project

Meanwhile, since Visitor Solutions started work late last year, community workshops and meetings have been held. As a result, six core areas of focus to promote Thames have been identified:

  1. Cluster and promote niche visitor experiences
  2. Develop walking and cycling
  3. Optimise The Goldmine Experience
  4. Leverage the popularity of Kauaeranga Valley
  5. Enhance the central business district (CBD)
  6. Support the Steampunk Festival

It is these six areas that will continue to be developed over the coming months and years in order to develop Thames as a visitor destination.

The Stakeholder Working Group includes the following members of the Thames community:

Karl Edmonds
Andrea McCartney (represented by Ruth Bliss)
Heather Moore
Clancy Nixon
Mark Skelding
The late Morrie Dunwoodie was also part of the group