Access to and around a region/destination is a key enabler. It can either accelerate or hinder visitor growth.
The more transport modes and gateways that regions have (air, road, rail, sea), the more options visitors have. Physical connectivity (roading, public transport, walking and cycling options) supports visitor movement and it can also form part of the visitor experience (e.g. heritage train journeys, cycleway tours).
Soft infrastructure (signage, interpretation) contributes to the quality of the visitor experience and touring routes provide a guide to connecting visitors to places through a shared story, encouraging dispersal and visitation into less-known areas and communities.
Assess each type of transport mode for your destination for its quality, capacity and supporting infrastructure (e.g. air connections into target markets, capacity and frequency of flights, cost, airport terminal facilities and ancillary services such as rental cars, public transport). These should contribute positively to the visitor experience. Also consider how accessible your destination’s experiences are for visitors who may have an impairment of some kind.
In addition you need to consider your emergency response requirements, taking into account New Zealand’s physical and climatic conditions and our remote locations.
- How are visitors travelling to the destination?
- Does each form of access and supporting infrastructure cater for current and future visitor flows/volumes, as well as their expectations, satisfaction and safety?
- Who are the key agencies/businesses responsible for investing in and managing the infrastructure involved in accessing the area?
- What planning and regulatory frameworks do we need to consider?
- Is there a plan for each access mode in terms of maintenance, enhancement, expansion and investment?
- Do the destination’s access modes connect to other services, to enable efficient movement and dispersal across the region and into neighbouring regions?
- Does the destination provide hub-and-spoke opportunities to connect urban areas to rural attractions?
- Is there a public transport service that meets visitor needs, especially during peak times?
- Have we considered the needs of less able or impaired visitors?
- Does the destination have a touring route or highway/bi-way strategy? How effective is it and are there opportunities to enhance the experience (e.g. signage, interpretation, themed itineraries)?
- Is there adequate directional and amenity signage to support the visitor experience? Is there a strategy and process for developing this?
- Can the digital infrastructure meet the current and future demand (including Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality)? Is it consistent across the destination?
- Is there a plan for the growth and development of digital services and infrastructure (e.g. Wi-Fi and mobile phone coverage)?
- Are there any risks with regard to access (e.g. poor-quality roads or port facilities)?
- Have we considered future travel trends (e.g. electric vehicles)?
- Have we considered all the potential/likely partners (public and private entities) in developing access infrastructure?
“Visitors need to be able to get to where they want to visit safely in a timely way for an appropriate cost. This includes air, road, rail, sea, trails and cycleways. It is important we all work together on transport issues in the tourism sector. This requires a coordinated approach and the alignment of national and regional plans, strategies and polices.”
Leigh Pearson, Acting GM, Engagement and Partnerships, New Zealand Transport Agency