Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s Destination Partnership Programme, developed by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited as an interim funding solution to continue attracting leisure travellers and business events to the region, will be extended.

Off the back of a successful first year, businesses that benefit from Auckland’s visitor economy can now register for year two of the programme, starting 1 July 2024, with seven levels of partnership on offer.

Annie Dundas, Director of Destination at Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, says that the programme has been critical to delivering important activity on behalf of Auckland’s visitor economy.

“By joining forces with the industry, we can continue to position Auckland as a destination of choice for leisure travellers and business events in an incredibly competitive environment globally.

“Reflecting on our first year, we are thrilled with the support from industry, from major players such as Auckland Airport and the SkyCity Group, through to smaller operators like Time Unlimited Tours and Beyond the Blue. We want to build on this success and extend the offer and opportunity to the wider industry to share in and support Auckland's success.”

The first year of the programme generated $1.9 million from more than 140 businesses from across the visitor economy sector – including local tourism operators, accommodation providers, business event service providers and venues. Platinum Partners in year one included Accor Hotel Group, Cordis Auckland, Hospitality Services Ltd, SkyCity Group and Auckland Airport.

Dundas says the programme has expanded in its second year to encourage and enable a wider range of businesses to join.

“Alongside industry feedback, we saw the opportunity to expand the reach of the programme. A rising tide lifts all boats, and two new partnership levels enable smaller or emerging businesses, such as restaurants, retail or business services, to be part of supporting the bigger Auckland story that benefits everyone.”  

The Destination Partnership Programme now offers seven partnership levels, starting at a free Partner Listing. The two new partnership levels are Love AKL, for small and emerging tourism businesses, and those businesses indirectly benefiting from tourism and events, such as retail and restaurants, and Destination Services Partner, for tourism marketing and support providers, including web design and accounting suppliers.

Ceillhe Sperath, Director of TIME Unlimited Tours says the Destination Partnership Programme has provided a more defined and cohesive approach to working toward a Tāmaki-centric tourism strategy that positively links often disparate industry partners, which make up the Auckland region’s large melting pot of tourism and hospitality industry operators.

“There is a stronger sense of kotahitanga – working as one,” says Sperath. "This has frequently been lacking in the Auckland region, as it is often about size, scope and sector – whether that is the expansive geographical spread, diversity in offerings across the region and sector specific from luxury to self-service, aviation to accommodation, tours to large transport providers, food to fun & adventure and everything in between.” 

“As a result of the programme, we are certainly connecting across a broad set of industry partners and forging more meaningful relationships,” Sperath says. "This is a win-win for our respective businesses and for Auckland as a destination.”  

Partnership benefits vary by level, ranging from a basic business listing on Discover Auckland – Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s online platform which improves the way locals and visitors discover the Auckland region – to opportunities across marketing, sales and promotion; tradeshows; education and insights; networking and events (local and international); and advocacy and governance.

The programme funds a robust itinerary of consumer and trade marketing activity in the domestic, Australia and North America markets especially, as well as the attraction of business events to the Auckland region.

Activity includes consumer marketing campaigns in domestic and Australia markets; PR agency support in Australian market; trade and media familiarisation opportunities; networking and showcase events; sales activity and representation at key trade events including Australia and North America Roadshows, TRENZ, AIME and MEETINGS. Notably, 72 business events have been secured that will deliver a forecasted 161,000 visitor nights for Auckland between 2024-2026.

All funds generated go towards activity that directly benefits the region and are not used for Tātaki Auckland Unlimited overhead costs, nor to attract or invest in major events.

Registrations for year two of the Destination Partnership Programme are open now. Businesses can view further information or register here

Background on the Destination Partnership Programme can be found here.