Taiwanese tour operator Richard Chen is investigating bringing groups of overseas visitors to Gore for overnight stays.
While the owner of Loyo Travel had brought tours through Gore before, stopping for 10-minute breaks, he had never included the town on his tour itinerary.
But that could change in the future.
Mr Chen, who was in Gore late last week, said he had been guiding tours for 25 years and always passed through Gore.
Now that he had discovered the Hokonui Moonshine Museum he was keen to see what else the district had to offer.
He believed a stopover in Gore would suit repeat overseas visitors looking for a more in-depth tour of the area.
“I think it’s a good destination to stop over,” Mr Chen said.
He was impressed with what the area had to offer, he said.
Venture Southland tourism and events manager Warrick Low met Mr Chen at the Trenz tourism event in Dunedin last week.
However, Mr Low had been working with Mr Chen for several years.
“We build relationships with them – we tease them with information to get a really unique experience of New Zealand, via Gore and Southland,” Mr Low said.
Trenz provides a way to get to know the offshore travel trade, educate representatives about the individual’s product and build business relationships, as well as to network with hundreds of other operators and people from the New Zealand tourism industry.
Mr Low said the Gore district was a unique destination and landscape and being at Trenz was a chance to showcase the region to overseas operators such as Mr Chen.
Staying in Gore would allow overseas visitors to have a taste of rural New Zealand, he said.
Sowing the seeds to capture more of the tourism market could be a productive exercise.
“It doesn’t happen overnight,” Mr Low said.
He said Mr Chen had a wealth of experience in tourism.
“His groups are very small – six to 12.”
tended to spend more money, resulting in economic spinoffs for the area, he said.
While in Gore, Mr Chen visited the Eastern Southland Gallery, Hokonui Pioneer Village and Museum, the town’s gardens and The Thomas Green Public House and Dining Room.
Discussions also covered the possibility of providing co-ordinated farmstay accommodation for Loyo tours, Mr Low said.
He believed Mr Chen was very impressed with what the district had to offer.
“Gore has got it in spades when it comes to having the real Kiwi doing it in the Kiwi way,” Mr Low said.