Rachel Hunter’s Tour of Auckland
Rachel Hunter has been touring New Zealand over the past month sharing her most transformational life experiences, and it’s fair to say that she has picked up a few more while she’s been in Auckland.
As part of her international ambassador role with Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Rachel has been broadening her appreciation and awareness of what it is that makes Auckland such a desirable visitor destination.
Rachel is well-known on the international stage for her modelling and television career as well as for her passion for the environment, and from her Los Angeles base has been in a prime position to influence the premium United States visitor market.
Given the growing global trend towards sustainability in tourism as more travellers are looking to visit destinations based on their sustainable practices, ATEED has taken the opportunity of having Rachel back home to give her a taste of what Auckland is doing in this space.
Rachel recently spent time on Great Barrier Island; hearing about the pest-eradication in the Hauraki Gulf; the community of volunteers out cleaning up the coastlines and waterways every day, as well as the steps being taken to protect kauri in the Waitakere Ranges.
“It’s been amazing the last few weeks working with ATEED and looking at the sustainability and the conservation that’s happening within Auckland,” says Rachel.
“I’ve been able to go out to see the kids at Great Barrier Island from Okiwi School and what they are doing in their own environment to make sure the trees, animals and insects are staying intact.
“Being able to go out to Motutapu and release Matariki (the kiwi) was pretty special because you are releasing one of our iconic birds back into the wild.
“The thankless and selflessness of those involved with Seacleaners who go out to clean up our waters every day and are focused on changing things not suffering in the problem.”
Kaitiakitanga or guardianship, is one of the guiding principles that underpins Auckland’s new strategy for the visitor economy – Destination AKL 2025 – which sets out a long-term vision for Auckland’s visitor economy encompassing tourism, major events, business events and international education.
The strategy has been guided by input from a large variety of stakeholders throughout the industry, government and the community as well as an Industry Leadership Group, comprised of 16 major stakeholders from a mix of key public and private sector entities.
ATEED General Manager Destination, Steve Armitage, says Destination AKL 2025 places a strong emphasis on destination management, recognising that all involved in the sector have a vital role to play in ensuring Auckland remains a great place to visit.
“This is a plan for the Auckland industry as a whole to own, implement, and collectively support if we are to achieve the long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability of the region’s visitor economy,” he says.
“Visitors to New Zealand now contribute more to our economy than any other industry, but with growth comes responsibility and through this Auckland wide strategy we will work together to achieve a sustainable future for Auckland and its visitor economy.”
Rachel has been heartened by what she has seen taking place in Auckland.
“I’m super proud to be working with ATEED and looking at the sustainability and conservation focus throughout Auckland,” she says.
“Tourism has mostly been about selling this and selling that, but this is about being really responsible for our environment, the cities and the towns that we live in.”