Thanks to the support of industry, the new Destination Committee – which features three industry representatives – and other partners, we have made great progress in delivering key initial focus areas of the Destination AKL 2025 strategy released last year.

Destination AKL 2025 is not our plan – it is a plan for Auckland and is already seeing the region work together towards a shared vision in destination management, rather than simply destination marketing.

Execution of the plan has so far seen the development of a new tourism skills campaign, great progress towards a coordinated evidence-based marketing strategy for our region, and a new winter festival to help smooth seasonal tourism demand.

The tourism skills campaign, Go with Tourism, aims to address the current and forecast skills shortage in Auckland’s tourism industry, and attract more youth into tourism careers.

A major joint research project with Tourism Industry Aotearoa provided valuable insights for employers and educators on what young people think about working in the visitor economy – insights that are helping us develop strategies to attract, effectively retain and develop sustainable career pathways for young people.

Go with Tourism is a multi-faceted campaign aimed at shifting the perceptions many young people have about careers in tourism and provides an innovative platform to connect talent directly with potential employers.

More than 100 employers have already signed up to the website, with positive feedback about the Job Connector functionality, a digital platform which connects youth directly to Auckland tourism employers with quality jobs.

We are also leading the development of an Auckland destination positioning and narrative, which was a major deliverable required in the strategy – given the lack of a coordinated, industry wide marketing narrative. In the past few months, the project has involved international experts Destination Think! carrying out initial research to unveil Auckland’s ‘Place DNA™‘.

This included a number of regional workshops involving residents and mana whenua, surveys of residents and travellers, digital sentiment analysis, and a review of previous research. The Place DNA findings have been presented back to the workshop participants, and are being unveiled to other stakeholders.

Following that process, our Marketing team will work with Destination Think! on next steps towards a resulting positioning and narrative for Auckland that will allow ATEED and the wider industry to prioritise marketing activity and strategy – with particular thought given to 2021 (Auckland’s mega event year). We recognise mana whenua’s particular stake in the development of Auckland’s destination narrative, and are committed to keeping mana whenua closely involved.