TRM really do try to be relentlessly positive, but… over the last couple of weeks, TRM’s fb page received much support to local criticism of Taupo’s method to promote Turangi. They advised Turangi is now going to be promoted as the “Gateway to the National Park”. This suggests Turangi has nothing to offer. Then their main billboard entering Turangi from Toe-paw advertised skiing for the summer? No wonder everyone complained.
Now – thankyou to all the complainants – they replaced the skiing sign with the tramping image, but this is just as bad in encouraging any tourists to travel on to the National Park. The image of tourist trampers was on SH47 looking back at Mt. Doom about 50 km from Turangi. Ruapehu people must love Toe-paw continually promoting their region.
Toe-paw Council CEO needs reminding, again, that the biggest industry for Turangi tourism is – wait for it – TROUT FISHING !!! The best way to remind them is a brief slide show TRM posted over five years ago. The subject matter was “Tourist attractions in Turangi?”. Toe-paw Council must have missed it…
Before facebook arrived TRM posted a Daily report on tourist activities in Turangi and particularly trout fishing stuff. This Daily Blog was well supported by TRM inmates and tourist anglers and others who have holiday homes in Turangi after DOC (Department of Conservation are the fishery managers in Taupo) stopped publishing their “Target Taupo”. Indeed, TRM was often in trouble for pointing out the obvious – similar to the misleading signage above. To indicate how consistent TRM has been, the following “Daily Report” was prepared in 2014 to further promote Turangi as a Trout Town. Enjoy!
TURANGI – TROUT FISHING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD…?
Fly fishing is so critical, so vital, so essential to Turangi. It is the very soul of Turangi – far more so than anywhere else in NZ. True! Therefore when anglers visit to fly fish the Tongariro they are considered far more important than just ordinary common garden variety tourists and become a VIT (Very Important Tourist) at TRM. To explain this it is necessary for TRM to emphasise and reinstate that important distinction as follows:
Turangi’s only industry is “tourism”. OK? Tourism is the life blood of Turangi and it follows that the biggest tourist industry in the Taupo region is fishing. It generates $29 million every year and employs almost 300 people. This is not just any old “gut feeling” estimate. Those economic stats were professionally assessed by DOC (Department of Conservation are the Taupo fishery managers) in their independent review of the fishery in 2013 after interviewing over 900 people.
That clearly makes fishing the biggest business in this region even though it has been overlooked by Taupo Council’s tourist promotion people – “DGLT” (Destination Great Lake Taupo). For the 2013-14 tourist season they listed “weddings” and “youth” as their priority sectors for promotion. Amazingly, unbelievably, fishing was not even mentioned.
TRM was wondering how to go about illustrating the relative importance to little Turangi (?) so we compared the back-up facilities to indicate the significance of fishing to Turangi…
Auckland has about a zillion resident population and three tackle shops dedicated to freshwater fly fishing. OK?
Taupo has a resident population of over 27,000 and has three tackle shops – Greenstone, Fishing & Hunting and Taupo Rod & Tackle. OK so far?
Turangi has 2,700 resident population (one tenth of Taupo) and has three tackle shops – Sporting Life, Greig Sports and Creel, plus, in addition, several other web-based tackle dealers such as Lee at Superfly, etc. – see TRM Links. Last year there were four shops but Riverway closed their retail business as we understand they were selling more over the internet.
I hope that is a simple illustration of the relative importance of fishing to Turangi. It is Turangi’s main vital life blood. Turangi’s claim to fame was historically firmly established by large signs on each of the three main road entry points welcoming tourists to “the trout fishing capital of the World”. Taupo Council removed the iconic signs to convert Turangi into the “Source of the Lake”. (Image below) What is that? Have you ever heard such nonsense? But they took away Turangi’s pride as well.
This was not just PR hype. Taupo failed Turangi. Very sad. Despite the Taupo Council desperately trying to transform Turangi into a distant remote southern suburb of Taupo by removing the only signs that established Turangi as a destination in its own right, the enviable reputation as the Trout Fishing Capital of the World survived. It deserved to. It is such a wonderful fishing destination. It has everything.
Then there is the equally historical and economic and strategic importance of the Tongariro River to Turangi but we are confident you already know all about that – even if Council don’t.
But to be fair for tourist impact comparison purposes we should also consider the other important but secondary tourist attraction. In addition to the fishing are the nearby major national parks, Kaimanawa and in particular Tongariro National Park – established in 1887. The park has been judged independently (i.e. it is not just TRM’s opinion) as a place of outstanding universal value; part of a common heritage of mankind. World heritage status was accorded by UNESCO on two counts; natural landscape (1990) and cultural landscape (1993). The park is one of only 20 or so dual world heritage sites along with Uluru, Australia, and Machu Picchu, Peru (only our dual heritage area has the huge advantage of being closer to Turangi offering trout fishing as well)…
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is the most popular one day walk in NZ so it is important. i.e. In the Taupo iSite it is their biggest display effort to send tourists about 90 km away south into the Ruapehu region – even beyond Turangi… Why do they send all their tourists away to another region? Well done Taupo, or are we missing something here?
This wonderful alpine crossing track attracts somewhere about 70-80,000 people per year (2019 Update – now over 140,000!) to walk the 19 km. It is a “must-do” according to Lonely Planet. So DGLT decided it was their most important tourist asset to promote. But as usual Taupo Council overlooked the fact that trout fishing is even more important to this region as fishing easily exceeds that number of visitors. Taupo Council do not understand or believe that either, so we have to spell it out to them too.
DOC sells about 50,000 fishing licences a year for the Taupo Region. They used to sell about 85,000 but trout fishing has not been effectively promoted for many years so licence sales have fallen considerably. But there is a key difference, compared to the Tongariro Crossing numbers, for which tourists only usually visit once, stay one night and we never see them again.
Comparatively, anglers stay for much longer periods and return again and again each year for many years. At a wild guess we estimate their visits equal way over 200,000 normal tourist visits per year. But as TRM has a vested interest in all this, our biased opinion might be suspect and we will no doubt be accused of favouring fishing? But that also might be why TRM target anglers. OK?
TRM has regular angler guests (inmates?) who have been visiting from Australia as well as Auckland and Wellington for over 15 years and stay for a week or two at least two or three times each year.
Therefore when that is extrapolated into the calculations the trout fishing visitors outnumber everyone else combined. Genuinely nice people, they stay much longer, they return again and again, year after year, so TRM make sure the accommodation “package” deals are pitched to encourage them back, again and again.
But we have to wonder how many more angling tourists would come if the Taupo fishery was promoted by more than just one little motel. The others don’t even realise…
SWMBO just thought you would like to know…
And that was over five years ago. Little has changed, Council and DOC continue to fail Turangi. Meanwhile, the crowding on the Tongariro Crossing during the tourist season is far worse and the trout fishing is the best for at least 15 years.