Raglan’s Chamber of Commerce is utilising the University of Waikato’s Management School Master’s students to conduct resident, visitor and business surveys over the summer period to further understand the impacts the booming summer economy has to the small seaside town as part of the town’s Destination Action Plan.
Raglan’s popularity is obvious; with clear black sand beaches, the best left-hand surf break in New Zealand and a unique, creative culture; domestic and international visitors swamp the town from December to March to enjoy the sand-sea-surf vibe that the town is famous for. The town’s summer population swells by 300-400% and those wanting to book accommodation at short notice are often out of luck.
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism have identified the Raglan area as an emerging experience in their Tourism Opportunities Plan which was developed in July 2016 with industry experts. HWT held workshops in Raglan with local residents and businesses, to create a Destination Action Plan to offer visitors a cohesive Raglan experience, no matter what they want to achieve.
“During the development of the Destination Action Plan with Hamilton & Waikato Tourism, it became evident that we didn’t even know to what extent our booming visitor sector has on our town”, local entrepreneur and Chamber member Charlie Young states, “We know anecdotally, but we need the data to back it up. Our highest priority in the Action Plan is to collect tangible data to support these views. It just so happened that the University of Waikato is conducting their domestic tourism study in Raglan, so it made sense to partner up”.
The Domestic Tourism Study, endorsed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is conducted over a five-year period and looks at socio-economic impacts, resilience, capacity and accommodation. Masters students are surveying both residents and visitors to gather a broader perspective.
The research study will determine short-term perspectives from visitors as well as long and medium-term perceptions from residents on the impact of tourism in Raglan. The research studies are already underway and will be conducted until the end of the peak season.
A supplementary study undertaken by the Raglan Chamber will also give a business perspective. This survey will be sent early next week.
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