They'll be back . . . Gore district tourism visitor centre senior consultant Renatta Hardy is confident the district's domestic visitors will return once Covid-19 alert level restrictions are lifted. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Gore Visitor Centre staff are planning for the new “normal” when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and people start travelling more.

Tourism visitor centre senior consultant Renatta Hardy said she was confident in time the tourism economy would recover.

“We’re not having international visitors for some time.. but the team is preparing for when domestic tourism [resumes],” Mrs Hardy said.

Whatever the future held, she was confident Southland people who were very resilient would adapt.

“The end is not the end.

“It’s always the beginning of something new so it’s new normal.”

The district had a very strong domestic visitor market with 89% of visitors coming from throughout New Zealand.

“So the market we have lost is only 11%.”

The district also had a customer base who kept returning.

“We have a loyal hunting fishing population who are coming.”

Rural and business visitors also made return visits.

If the travel bubble was opened up to Australia anglers would return.

“They are coming religiously every year so I don’t think that will change.”

The team was exploring how to expand the district’s virtual presence online so people could visit via the internet.

“We want to be present and open for all the world to see us and to hear our stories.”

During lockdown, Mrs Hardy posted photographs of Gore on social networking sites.

“I think we are more connected now than ever before with the rest of the world.”

She received inquiries about Gore from people overseas who were planning where they wanted to visit after restrictions were lifted.url cloneSneakers