Press Release – ATEED
Visitor information services will be reviewed to better meet the changing needs of international and domestic visitors, and to reflect the changing tourism market mix, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Chief Executive Brett O’Riley announced today.
“A vital ingredient in continuing the transformation of Auckland from a gateway city to a legitimate visitor destination is giving visitors the information they need in a way that best suits them,” Brett O’Riley said.
“Visitors are increasingly using the internet and mobile devices to access information and make bookings, either before they leave or by using their smart-phones, tablets and laptops when they are here, leading to declining use of i-SITEs.”
“This has been compounded by fewer numbers of independent travellers and visitors from long-haul markets who have tended to use i-SITEs, and more visitors from China and Australia, who tend not to.”
“We know that well informed visitors tend to stay longer and spend more when they are here, so getting them the information they need in a way that suits the current market is vital.”
ATEED has embarked on a review of its visitor information provision, starting with a look at the i-SITE network.
“We operate 12 i-SITEs and a mobile i-SITE established by the former Councils and inherited from the amalgamation, which were used by around one million visitors and generated around $6.4 million in revenue for Auckland tourism operators and in product sales last year,” Brett O’Riley said.
“But with the market mix changing and internet use growing enormously, we need to be reassured that the $700,000 that the i-SITE network loses each year is the best use of the resource.”
ATEED will be consulting with i-SITE staff and managers along with local boards with i-SITEs in their area, over the coming month, as part of the review process and to explore their ideas for ways to improve visitor information services to their local areas and across the region.
Questions and answers
What is an i-SITE?
i-SITE is the brand name for the Visitor Information Network (VIN Inc.), a membership based organisation for information centres, wholly owned by Tourism New Zealand. VIN maintains specific membership standards to ensure delivery of a consistent service standard to visitors across the network. There are approximately 90 i-SITE accredited centres across New Zealand.
Where are the 12 i-SITEs located?
ATEED operates i-SITEs at the International and Domestic airport terminals, Sky City, Princes Wharf, Waiheke Island, Devonport, Warkworth, Bombay, Kumeu, Takapuna, Pukekohe and Orewa. An additional seasonal i-SITE is operated on Great Barrier Island during the summer months, and a mobile i-SITE is available to support major events.
How many people use the i-SITEs?
ATEED i-SITE usage ranges from 350,000 users at the Auckland International Airport to 8,000 users at Kumeu. The trend for i-SITE use is decreasing, reflecting the greater number of visitors using technology to access information and the changing profile of the typical visitor.
Why do visitors use i-SITEs?
The majority of i-SITE users enter with the purpose of collecting information, mainly brochures and maps. User surveys show that satisfaction with the i-SITE experience is relatively high, primarily due to positive staff interaction.
How else do visitors get information?
ATEED provides visitor information through the Aucklandnz.com website, the visitor information 0800 call centre, information kiosks, at visitor attractions and destinations, and can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/aucklandNZ on Twitter @Auckland_NZ.
Are visitors using technology more to access information?
A majority of international visitors bring a smart phone, tablet or laptop. Of those who used technology in New Zealand, two thirds used it to collect visitor information. The pattern is similar for domestic tourists.
How is the tourism market changing?
Visitors from long-haul markets such as the UK, US and Europe are declining due to the state of those economies and the high NZ dollar. Forecast growth will come from China and South East Asia with continued growth from Australia. Visitors from Australia and Asia have lower levels of awareness and use of i-SITEs.
What do visitors look for when they visit?
Surveys show that international visitors are looking to experience our Harbour and Gulf islands, our beaches and natural beauty, our Maori and Pacific cultures and our first class food and wines, whereas domestic visitors tend to be looking for events, attractions, shopping, entertainment and nightlife.
Are changing visitor demographics affecting information access?
Young visitors, adventure tourists and families tend by be high technology users. Older visitors tend to make more use of package or coach tours where the itinerary is pre-determined. These trends contribute to declining i-SITE use.
Does ATEED get income for the i-SITEs?
i-SITEs generate income for ATEED through commission on tourism bookings made through i-SITEs and margins on tourism product sold at i-SITES. The financial performance of i-SITEs ranges widely, from the Sky City i-SITE which returns a net surplus of around $250,000 a year to the Takapuna i-SITE which returns a net loss of around $170,000 a year.
What is the goal for economic growth from tourism?
ATEED aims to grow the Auckland visitor economy from $3.3 billion last year to $6.0 billion by 2021.
Are savings anticipated from the visitor information review?
The ATEED i-SITE network loses around $700,000 a year and this loss is forecast to increase in coming years. Any possible savings beyond stemming the losses will be re-invested into the marketing of Auckland as a visitor destination.