This website had its genesis at Riverton in 2004 when a meeting of the Riverton Area Promotions (Inc) discussed the fact that the South-west of the South Island had scenery, infrastructure and history equal to, if not better than, the surrounding areas yet visitors quickly drove through the area to either get to the Catlins (east) or Fiordland (west). This led to the development of a core aim for tourism in Western Southland – to encourage visitors to spend more time in the region.
On 2nd March 2006, the Registrar of Incorporated Societies registered the WESTERN SOUTHLAND PROMOTIONS ASSOCIATION INCORPORATED (WSPAI).
Membership of WSPAI consists of :-
- Riverton Area Promotions (Inc)
- Tuatapere District Promotions (Inc)
- Otautau Concept and Promotions
- Nightcaps Community Development Area Committee (SDC)
- Ohai Community Development Area Committee (SDC)
Funding for this Western Southland Tourism Promotions and Community Building Website has been granted to WSPAI from the Southland Community Trust, and the Southland District Council for the development, in partnership with the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute at AUT University, Auckland.
We are dedicated to supporting the sustainable development of tourism businesses and communities in Western Southland, and improving the access of businesses and groups to tools and knowledge which will help them to reach their aspirations. Our aim is to provide quality information to visitors and community members while respecting our heritage environment and people.
We recognize our success as an organization is best achieved through facilitating networking between individuals and groups, and supporting businesses and communities to grow in a productive manner.
Tourism can have an effect on the destination's culture, economy and environment. Responsible tourism aims to ensure that those impacts are positive ones.
Responsible tourism respects local people and cultures, provides economic benefit to local communities and protects the environment. Responsible tourism is about taking care of the places we visit for the mutual benefit of local people and future visitors.
WSPAI aligns it’s promotion of tourism in Western Southland under the guidelines of the United Nations Environment programme which identifies the basic elements of sustainable tourism which:
- Sustains the well being of local people
- Includes an interpretation / learning experience
- Involves responsible action on the part of tourists and the tourism industry
- Is delivered primarily to small groups by small-scale businesses
- Requires the lowest possible consumption of non-renewable resources
- Stresses local participation, ownership and business opportunities, particularly for rural people
Government and industry have a role in developing ecotourism practices that are environmentally, economically and socially beneficial, while minimizing their negative impacts. We endeavour to work closely with Venture Southland and the Southland District Council, and contribute to realising the aims and goals of the Southland Tourism Strategy.
Five easy steps towards sustainability
Businesses are often surprised at how much can be saved through simple, straightforward changes. By incorporating just a few of steps below, you could find that as well as saving money, you’ll discover other ways to improve efficiency.
- Switch off when not in use
Reduce your energy waste by switching of unnecessary lights and equipment, especially when everyone's gone home for the day. Think about the savings this could make to your energy bill. Visit EECA's EMProve website for more ways to manage your energy use and reduce your bills.
- Green your office stationery
Save money and support environmental practices by reducing your paper use and buying stationery products which are kinder on the environment, for example paper that is non-bleached or from sustainable forests. Make a difference by specifying "greener" printing options when ordering your letterhead and business cards - and think carefully about print quantities.
- Recycle all that you can
Reduce the amount of rubbish you're sending to landfill by recycling. As well as paper, you can recycle plastics, tins, glass, and your food scraps can be composted.
Visit the Reduce Your Rubbish website for more ways to reduce your rubbish at work.
- Choose greener and safer cleaning products
Choose products with ingredients that have less impact on human health and on the environment. Many cleaning products end up in local wastewater systems, and eventually in waterways. Reduce your rubbish by choosing products with minimal and/or recyclable packaging.
- Choose energy efficient equipment and appliances
Buy energy efficient equipment and appliances. Check out the energy label - the more stars, the more energy efficient the appliance. Many appliances and office equipment now have powersave features too.
Visit the Australian EnergyStar website to compare the efficiency of appliances.
Tourism, small business & the community: a Tourism Promotions & Community Building Website
This website is a working example of community -building concepts that have been developed over the last decade by the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute (NZTRI) and the University of Auckland.
What is a community -building website?
A tourism promotions & community building website is one which promotes a region as a visitor destination; gives small businesses a web presence with their own individual web page; gives communities their own web page which can act as a community resource; and connects businesses with their communities.
What’s so different about such a website?
A tourism promotions & community building website is built using free innovative software based on the concept of allowing businesses to join the website, create, manage and update their own business’ webpage within the site, at no cost, whenever they like.
A business perspective:
A business owner/manager can go online, fill in a series of forms requesting information about their business, attach their photos, brochures, logos and even place their business on a map. The software then automatically creates a webpage for that business.
A community perspective:
The website gives communities a chance to present themselves to outside world on their terms. The idea is to get the whole community together to decide on the content of their webpage, which can also act as a community resource.
A visitor perspective:
Travellers to NZ are increasingly looking for an authentic experience where they can meet the locals and get away from the traditional tourist centres. This type of website puts all the information they may need to plan and book their visit on the one site, with the added richness of learning about the communities as well.
How to go about building a community website:
The software used to build the website is opensource which means free for groups to use. NZTRI can assist in getting it up and running very economically, and once setup groups can manage and administer the website themselves.
New Zealand Tourism Research Institute (NZTRI) would be happy to discuss how this concept and website could help your region. Please call Carolyn Nodder on (09) 921 9999 ext 8892 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.