Future of information centres in the hands of the community

27 Jul 2021

The information centres in Whitianga and Thames are no longer i-SITES. 

“Thames-Coromandel District Council made the decision in the Long Term Plan 2021-2031 to change the Whitianga and Thames i-SITES to information centres,” says Kirstin Richmond, TCDC district/events coordinator. 

“This means an [annual] saving of approximately $80,000. Post the COVID-19 lockdown last year, we’ve seen visitor numbers on the Coromandel decline and there is a trend nationally to start looking at alternative ways information to visitors can be provided.”

To ensure continued operation of the two information centres, as well as the information centre in Whangamata, Council is calling for expressions of interest from people/organisations interested in managing the three centres. 

Up to the end of the TCDC financial year on 30 June, the two i-SITES in Whitianga and Thames were managed by Destination Coromandel. According to TCDC, the five Destination Coromandel staff members who worked at the i-SITES were given sufficient time to prepare for the changes. “There are other opportunities for them to be involved in the tourism industry on the Peninsula, including submitting an expression of interest to operate the information centres in Whitianga, Thames and Whangamata,” says Kirstin.

Expressions of interest for the Whangamata information centre is being sought as the previous management agreement for the centre expired at the end of June. All three the centres are currently being managed under temporary, agreements. New agreements will run from 1 October this year to 31 June 2024. TCDC will provide a set level of funding as part of these contracts.

The changes to the Whitianga and Thames i-Sites are not impacting council’s funding agreements for the information centres in Tairua, Pauanui and Coromandel Town.

In the 2021/2022 financial year, TCDC is providing $276,176 in total to the six information centres on the Peninsula (Whitianga $51,075, Thames $51,075, Tairua $38,590, Pauanui $34,251, Whangamata $50,860 and Coromandel Town $50,325). The total will increase to $281,528 in 2022/2023 and $287,614 in 2023/2024.

Pictured: The information centre in Whitianga.