Methven and District Understanding –the Cultural Process of Tourism
In 1869 Robert Patton bought some land and called the area Methven after his home town in Perthshire, Scotland. The site for the township was at the junction of six main roads. In 1878 sections in the town were auctioned. In 1880 Patton opened a hotel and sold some land for a blacksmith's shop. John Grigg of Longbeach had a hut in the area as a stopping place for drovers driving cattle from Longbeach to the West Coast.
During this time the area was in the PIONEER STAGE OF TOURISM Visitor or tourists numbers were low and there was little in the way of tourism facilities or tourism industry.
Bridge building helped travellers to reach MethvenThe new town became more important as a centre for travellers when in 1882 the Iron Bridge was built across the Rakaia River at the entrance to the gorge. It is built to a Bollam Truss design and is one of only two surviving in use. The other is in Savage, Maryland, U.S.A. A bridge is an example of infrastructure (transport).
Railway In 1878 work began on the inland branch railway linking Methven with Rakaia. It was opened in 1880 and operated until 1976. The railway increased accessibility – bringing more visitors/tourists. Hunting, fishing and tramping were popular activities for small numbers of visitors.
Engineering projects benefit the area and bring more people. During the Great Depression of the thirties unemployed men were given jobs building the Rangitata Diversion Channel. This channel was capable of irrigating nearly 4000 hectares. This scheme was extended to Highbank Power Station on the Rakaia River, thus providing additional irrigation and water for the power station. Population in the area grew. Irrigation resulted in greater agricultural production and therefore more business tourists (stock agents, farm machinery sales etc – needing to stay overnight in the hotel and eat dinner and breakfast). With a greater population more “friends and family” visitors – some of whom may need to stay in accommodation.
1970s The planned closure of the railway was a concern to the district – what would happen????? Economic impact? Population change? Locals worried it would be the end of Methven.
But actually in the 1970s the Methven District entered the Take Off Stage of TOURISM WHAT STARTS IT?
Ski field development on Mt Hutt In 1969 the Methven Lions Club commenced the development of the wide south basin on Mt Hutt as a ski area. In 1972 the Mt Hutt Ski Field Development Company Ltd. was launched.
The road to the skifield was built, about 5.600 ft above sea level, and is known as "Hood Highway" after Doug Hood, the Ashburton road contractor. Willie Huber spent the winter of 1972 in a chalet in the middle of the basin in the winter ot 1972, collecting critical data. In 1973 the skiers came.
Methven now started to become a winter resortThis led to change. Accommodation lodges sprang up in the town. Shops and restaurants could serve the skiing visitors during the season. • As people working on the ski field settled down with families they lived in the town rather than move seasonally. They bought up the older houses and in the last few year new houses have been built and the town has grown. • The Mt Hutt skifield has gone through several upgrades (and several owners) with significant investment in facilities and infrastructure over the 1990s- 2000s period.
What of Methven in 'the off-season'?Enterprising people decided to develop attractions that would make Methven a tourist mecca all the year - to eliminate the off-season.
Examples - beyond the snow slopes The Methven Summer SchoolEach January for the last ten years the summer school has been held offering reasonably priced courses in different skills ranging from art and crafts, painting, garden design, fiction writing and personal development to learning to play bridge and golf. It is held in the second week of January and the organisers would appreciate receiving enrolments by the first week in December. In 1997 160 people enrolled for courses, including an enrolment from as far away as Canada Walkways and the outdoors e.g. Mt Somers Walkway.More tourists are using scenic highway 72, Using campervans etc. Returning tourists (to NZ) want more than the main centres. Many outdoor types walk to tramp, walk, bike, raft etc etc The Methven Heritage Centre A cultural attraction to help with the “closed day” problem in the winter As the area becomes known for it’s outdoor it can attract - Outdoor Recreation Events – e.g. The Big Air, Peak to Pub, Teva – Event Tourism Good facilitites and infrastructure can be used to develop conferences, weddings, specialised tour groups e.g. Brinkley Village, Methven Resort, Methven Heritage Centre Will this lead to a mature industry all year around?
Major theme - Using the natural environment – attractions with cultural enhancement
Building a destination NAME – BRAND – what is special? The Lord of the Rings movie – promotion of NZ, opportunities for tourism activity - tours The Blue Pub – an icon for the town centre
Facilities and Infrastructure – how does the accommodation, retail etc found in Methven reflect the type of Tourism ….and tourists?
Tourism involves TRAVEL from a SOURCE to a DESTINATION THE SOURCE AREAS HAS PUSH FACTORS THE DESTINATION HAS PULL FACTORS THE TOURISM INDUSTRY MOVES TOURISTS FROM SOURCE TO DESTINATION – what do they need to do to do this? How do tourists find out how to get here to Methven? What to do while they are here? Is this the same as it has always been? How changing? What is the impact of these changes?
Spatial variations • Where are: locations and patterns of • The attractions • The tourists • The facilities and infrastructure • The Tourism Industry Why do they make these patterns?
Temporal variations Long term patterns – the number of tourists – 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s – growth: the change in tourism (stages) Annual pattern – the busy winter season Daily pattern – skiers start early – travel to ski field – town busy 7.30 – 9.30 return 4.00 – 6.-00: Evening – meals, drinks etc
Impact of Tourism on people and place in the Methven District Economic + employment, $ spend, business growth - Demand for new facilities (cost) Social/cultural + population growth, diversity, more services - crowding, lack of respect between tourists/locals Environmental + improved town centre - litter
Factors (outside the process) which affect/change the process of Tourism in Methven District NZ$ exchange rate – good value for Australians – they get more NZ dollars for their Aust $ Chch Earthquake – less tourists to South Island but busy in Methven due to hotel closure in Chch Weather – snow and wind – 2011 season low snow Technology change – internet bookings – websites very important Events in other countries – e.g. Queensland floods this year – less holiday makers, tsunami in Japan Terrorism – perception of safe locations – NZ seen as safe due to it’s political stability Airlines – e.g. new services Air Asia X