“Northland’s Twin Coast Discovery Touring Route is to undergo a substantial facelift over the next three years”, says Northland Inc CEO David Wilson. “Two weeks ago with MBIE and MPI, we released the Northland Regional Growth Study (NRGS) outlining a strategic direction for boosting Northland’s economy. The Twin Coast Discovery project (TCD) was identified as a headline project in the NRGS, and will be one of the first to get underway.”
The $1.5m proposal to revamp the touring route was supported by cornerstone funding of $493k over three years by the Northland Regional Council on Wednesday. The project will include new regional signage originating in Auckland, new tourism product development, digital online information and a series of interactive visitor information hubs and ‘Pou Trail’ throughout Northland, conveying Northland’s stories and visitor offerings.
David Wilson says “The NRC funding is key in leveraging partnerships to gain greater value from the revamp.” The New Zealand Transport Agency are ready to update the TCD signage based on feedback from the project, and help with the design and placement of information hubs; Councils can integrate their signage and promote local economic development in their communities. ATEED have partnered on the project as the route starts in Auckland, and will develop their end of the route in keeping with the overall project. Tourism organisations, towns and communities will be encouraged to link into the TCD to promote themselves, and Northland Inc will work with Tourism New Zealand and ATEED to market the route to both international and domestic visitors.
Northland Inc’s GM Maori Economic Development George Riley, who will liaise with iwi on the development of a Pou Trail said, “‘there has been a lot of interest in the region for the TCD and having pou in the vicinity is viewed as a fundamental element of an authentic Tai Tokerau/Northland visitor experience. We have seen how different groups have taken to the erection of pou in a number of settings from civic spaces to public beaches. There is now an opportunity for Maori to overlay the TCD with their own stories.”
“When the Twin Coast route was put in place in 1999, it was a first” says David Wilson, “then Northland led New Zealand in the development of an integrated touring route for visitors to discover Northland. Bringing the TCD into the 21st century by reaching people where they access information and in ways they identify with is key to encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more. TCD will provide the glue which brings together the best that Northland has to offer.“