Destination Management Plan

  1. Industry
  2. Destination Management Plan
Waikato is a region of diversity; an agricultural powerhouse of awe-inspiring natural wonders including the mighty Waikato River, Waitomo caves, surf beaches, and is home to Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto and Raukawa.

What is the Destination Management Plan?

Effective and sustainable Destination Management involves the management of all aspects of the destination that contribute to a visitor’s experience and enhances the liveability for local residents.

This Destination Management Plan (DMP) for the Waikato identifies a pathway towards a shared vision by, and for, local communities, iwi, visitors, tourism industry, wider business, and local and central government agencies.

Vision and Guiding Principles

A destination vision statement is essential for engaging stakeholders with a common direction for destination management. It’s an aspirational statement that provides an agreed focus amongst stakeholders for the future state of Waikato as a visitor destination. The goal is a target set towards achieving the same vision.


The Mighty Waikato is celebrated for providing real New Zealand experiences – where kaitiaki runs deep, mana inspires and unforgettable discoveries are just around the bend.


The visitor economy positively contributes to thriving Waikato communities – people, culture and the environment.

Guiding Principles

Stakeholders, including iwi and the general community are generally positive about tourism and the opportunities it brings to the region, provided that this is undertaken in a certain manner. A number of guiding principles were crafted based on feedback from stakeholders including results from previous consultation undertaken for the development of the Hamilton & Waikato destination brand.

These principles are inherent in the Vision, they act as a guide to the formation of and implementation of the DMP for Waikato.

  • Instilling pride through celebrating and sharing local culture
  • Providing connections between visitors, local residents and industry sectors
  • Living our brand values - surprising, magical and authentic Waikato experiences
  • Embracing guests – Manaakitanga
  • Regenerative tourism that actively contributes to the communities and the environment – Kaitiakitanga
  • Fostering innovation; always looking at innovative ways to improve

The Underlying Foundation

Taiao Ora, Tangata Ora – If the natural world is healthy, so too are the people.

If all aspects of the natural world are healthy, then the people who are connected to it are healthy too. The need to ensure that the natural environment is a beneficiary of the visitor economy was an expectation of many, and this was articulated through the request for more regenerative tourism opportunities for visitors and local community members to contribute to.

The Six Priority Areas

There are six priority areas with accompanying actions that work towards achieving the vision, goal, and positioning. These are guided by the values and principles identified by the community, iwi and tourism stakeholders. The priority areas focus on within-sector, cross-sector and intra-regional:

  1. Collaborations, partnerships and leadership
  2. Product and experience: protection, enhancement and development;
  3. Support of visitor infrastructure and investment;
  4. Capability building;
  5. Targeted marketing; and
  6. Support of regenerative and sustainable tourism

Download the plan

You can download a copy of the Destination Management Plan:

Quick Snapshot

Further information

For further information about the Destination Management Plan, please contact:

Natasha Pearce
Development Manager
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism
Phone: 07 843 0056

*Data Source: Ministry Business Innovation and Employment, Regional Tourism Estimates