Selwyn ideal living laboratory

by Mike Isle

Lincoln University is making a significant investment to support and grow regional understanding of tourism, and Selwyn is the ideal region for it the university says.

The university has announced it has created a new centre of excellence — Sustainable Tourism for Regions, Communities and Landscapes — to tackle what it calls the dual challenge of growing the value of tourism and enriching the tourist landscape in New Zealand. The multi-disciplinary centre is drawing on the expertise of researchers from across the university in such diverse areas as destination management, landscape design, policy and planning, marketing, rural regeneration, parks and protected areas, resource economics and community resilience.

The head of the new centre, Dr Mike Mackay, said that it is important to keep an eye on the impact of increasing tourist numbers and to advance ideas about how to best support the growth of good regional tourism.

“As more visitors arrive, and the tourism sector grows and diversifies, destination marketing and effective strategic tourism planning need to go hand in hand, especially in regional areas. Some regions are already benefitting greatly from New tourism innovations such as cycle trails, geoparks, farm and agritourism, adventure activities and new wine and food tourism.”

Dr Mackay said there were wonderful areas on the doorstep of Lincoln University — Selwyn, Mackenzie Country, Waitaki and Hurunui districts and Banks Peninsula — which researchers and students can use as living laboratories.

“This research will focus on the pressing needs of the sector, and we look forward to continuing our work with Lincoln academics,” said TIA chief executive, Chris Roberts.

Lincoln University is developing two other centres of excellence: Designing Future Productive Landscapes, and Food for Future Consumers., Each centre focuses on issues of strategic importance to New Zealand and responds to a need for greater innovation, productivity, resilience and sustainability.

Lincoln’s research expertise in a wide range of land-based disciplines means it is uniquely positioned to add value in these areas.