The success of the strengthening relationship between Air New Zealand and the Southland region was showcased at the New Zealand Airports Hui 2020 on October 28.
Southland Chamber of Commerce board member Carla Forbes spoke at the Hui, presenting with Air New Zealand’s Head of Tourism and Regional Affairs Reuben Levermore and Invercargill Airport general manager Nigel Finnerty.
The signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) four years ago between Air New Zealand and Southland stakeholder organisations has grown the number of visitors to the region, encouraging cross collaboration and overall growth.
Comprising of the Southland Chamber of Commerce, Southland Mayoral Forum, Invercargill Licensing Trust, Iwi, Great South and HW Richardson Group, the partnership has become a single and loud regional voice to connect Southland to the country and the world. The outputs have been successful, with the commencement of direct jet services between Invercargill and Auckland, a cohesive story for Southland being pitched to wider New Zealand audiences, events support, partnerships, business, and tourism support.
Forbes said it was an honour to be asked to speak at the Hui, to showcase Southland as a collaborative partner and visitor destination.
“This partnership has increased access for business and leisure, which has had a hugely beneficial ripple effect across Southland,” she said.
“Our collaboration has allowed for meaningful outcomes and I think there’s absolutely potential to use the partnership as a model for other regions to add buoyancy to their economies – especially in a Covid world where domestic tourism is key.”
Her presentation, with Levermore and Finnerty, focused on the benefits of a collective voice for business and approach to regional promotion and how this translates to increased opportunities for Southland.
There have been so many projects that have succeeded due to our collective approach, primarily SoRDS (Southland Regional Development Strategy) , new industry development work, industry extension work, inner city development, start up business support and the list goes on, and all this is for nought if we are not an accessible region.
Finnerty said since the MOU was signed and the new terminal was opened at Invercargill Airport, he had seen a steady increase in the positivity of the region’s perception.
“The ease of doing business has really come into its own,” he said.
“We’re seeing Southland making it onto a lot of people’s holiday lists and Invercargill Airport is in a great position to support the growing business sector with meetings and conferences able to be held on-site.”