An uncertain destiny


At the recent announcement about Rural Tours at the Cambridge i-Site, from left: Ruth Crampton, Russell Alexander, Tony Boot, Seiko Wilson, Melissa Beets and Lucy Young. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Destination Cambridge is crunching the numbers as it faces a double setback to its operating budget.

Ruth Crampton

Waipā District Council funding of $157,000 for its i-Site information job is gone from July 1 next year while the $20,000 management fee it got to take Town Hall bookings went six months ago.

General manager Ruth Crampton, who is only in the job on a short-term contract following the resignation of Miff Macdiarmid in March, is reporting tourism in Cambridge is on the up.

This is the first summer for four years when all markets can travel back to New Zealand, she says, and they are ready to pounce.

She is expecting a spike in door count and website visits. In just over five months 7434 people have come through the door at its Town Hall information centre and more than 11,000 visitors a month are checking out the Cambridge website.

Lucy Young

Destination Cambridge has ruled out running the Cambridge and Te Awamutu i-Sites as one management model.

Seventy percent of Cambridge’s visitors are from out of the region while Te Awamutu’s is 30 per cent.

“The proportional concentration of tourism, accommodation and event is predominantly higher in the Cambridge area. The question should be asked if the funding models should vary given the economic benefit of visitors to the region and the higher percentage of visitors being handled by Cambridge i-Site,” a submission to the council by chair Lucy Young says.

The organisation has sought alternative revenue streams – recently penning a services contract with Rural Tours for farm stays and offering retail sales of Cambridge and New Zealand gifts.

But it also faces having to pay rent for the first time of about $34,000 a year to the Cambridge Town Hall Trust.

In its financial statements till the end of June this year, Destination Cambridge recorded a deficit of $36,000, dipping into its savings to make ends meet. It retained general funds of nearly $129,000.

If there are no other funding options, Destination Cambridge’s future post 2025 looks uncertain.

See: Tourism bonus for farms

See: Tough calls begin

Destination Cambridge’s i-Site staff, from left: Vicki Ewing, Seiko Wilson, Lynda Millington, Bev Rogers, Ruth Crampton, Patrick Clarke, Rachael Colgan, Ivy Drouwer. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.



About Author

Mary Anne Gill

Putāruru-born Mary Anne Gill is one of Waikato’s most experienced communications and public relations practitioners. She has won several national writing gongs including three times at the Qantas and twice at the Voyager media awards.