Tackling the tricky topic of tourism is this year’s Big Conversation at Across the Bridge Bannockburn Arts Festival.
Wanaka Festival of Colour director Philip Tremewan will facilitate a panel discussion Tourism with three experts Max Rushbrooke and Sarah Bennett.
Mr Tremewan was looking forward to hearing from the experts.
Riverrun Luxury Lodge owner and former Kathmandu co-founder Meg Taylor was “very much concerned about protecting Wanaka”, he said.
“She has strong opinions about airports, which is another aspect of tourism for us to talk about.”
Journalist and academic Max Rushbrooke “writes a lot on democracy and on economic equality”.
Lonely Planet writer Sarah Bennett had a long experience of travel writing and Mr Tremewan was interested to “unpack her personal history” before addressing current issues.
The topic was planned before the Covid-19 pandemic, when “the debate was about how many tourists is enough”, Mr Tremewan said.
Too many tourists was probably not the burning issue for most operators at present, but it could still be part of the conversation in the future.
“When we have vaccines and whatever, we will still be debating how many tourists is enough, but at the moment we know we don’t have enough.”
Mr Tremewan hoped the discussion would find some answers to what people locally wanted out of tourism.
“What is it that people think is ideal, and what is it that keeps the region ticking over economically us.”
Tourism at Across the Bridge Bannockburn Arts Festival is on Tuesday, October 6, from 7pm at Bannockburn’s Coronation Hall.