Queenstown and Wānaka businesses, along with visitors to the region, are being encouraged to make a positive impact by funding and supporting the district’s goal for a regenerative, carbon zero future.
Destination Queenstown and Lake Wānaka Tourism have launched community funding platforms – Love Queenstown and Love Wānaka – as a solution to the challenges and opportunities high visitor numbers pose.
The initiative is the first to come out of the Queenstown Lakes regenerative tourism strategy Travel to a Thriving Future and Destination Queenstown CEO Mat Woods says the platforms will “connect visitors and businesses to projects that are making a difference”.
The focus is on supporting climate, conservation and biodiversity enterprises and participating businesses will have both physical and digital points for donations.
“No matter how big or small, donations will help support existing projects as well as new ideas and new technologies,” he says.
The platforms will also connect visitors who want to work as volunteers alongside local environmentalists on specific projects being carried out to benefit Queenstown and Wānaka.
Lake Wānaka Tourism chief executive Tim Barke says the region has some incredible organisations and individuals working in decarbonisation who are creating change on the ground.
People travelling through Queenstown Airport will be made aware of the project through installations which highlight the values of the region and how visitors can get involved in local initiatives.
Funds received by Love Queenstown and Love Wānaka will be spent exclusively where they are raised with a portion invested into an endowment fund to ensure long-term, substantial funding opportunities in the future.
The initiative is in partnership with the Wakatipu Community Foundation and CEO Jennifer Belmont says they are delighted to be the charitable arm of the regenerative tourism fund which “fits precisely within what our mission is in growing local philanthropy. Love Queenstown and Love Wānaka are an amazing legacy that will continue in perpetuity”.
Businesses can contribute by donating funds themselves or providing the means for visitors to do so and early feedback is that many want to be involved.
Tourism operator Mark Morrison of Wildwire says the idea has been discussed before but it is good to see something tangible is now in place.
“I believe that business can be our saviour. When we see our community and local environment deteriorating it’s on us to do something.”