Whakatāne District Council and Tourism Bay of Plenty are encouraging visitors to explore all that Whakatāne and the Bay of Plenty has to offer and support the region over the summer months.
Mayor Judy Turner says the Whakatāne community is welcoming visitors to the region with open arms.
“Whakatāne is a beautiful and enjoyable place and, along with Ohope, has been a domestic destination of choice for decades. We don’t imagine that will change however we very much hope our international visitors realise there is still a lot here for them to enjoy,” says Mayor Turner.
“Whakaari/White Island, which is situated 50km offshore from the Whakatāne township, was certainly one of the jewels in terms of our tourist attractions, but there is still plenty on offer.
“Whakatāne and its surrounding areas is home to fabulous weather, incredible beaches and a wide range of activities so we are encouraging people to still come and explore this beautiful part of New Zealand.”
The rāhui local iwi Ngāti Awa have placed on the Whakatāne coastline has been lifted for swimming and recreational water activity, but the taking of seafood is currently still prohibited. There is no change to the rāhui status of Te Puia Whakaari (Whakaari/White Island), which remains completely restricted.
“We’re really proud of our people, the community, and Ngāti Awa for the way they have shown such leadership and guidance during this time. They have shown an outpouring of aroha (love) and manaakitanga (hospitality) to our manuhiri (visitors) that is something we should all be very proud of,” says Mayor Turner.
Tourism Bay of Plenty, Chief Executive, Kristin Dunne says the community and the industry has been significantly impacted by this event.
“Our hearts are with those who have been impacted by this tragedy, but as we’ve experienced through other natural disasters, our people are resilient, and we will continue to work together to get through this. We are dedicated to supporting our industry.”
“We encourage people who have booked travel or tours, or who are considering a visit to keep coming. Showing support for the local area and operators at this time will mean a lot to all those whose livelihoods have been affected.
“The future of Whakaari/White Island is unknown for now. However, what is known is that the Bay of Plenty is rich in natural experiences and warm, generous people who would love to welcome visitors to the region,” says Dunne.