Whilst the tourism sector worldwide has been hit hard due to the Covid pandemic, the Raglan Information iHub continues to be a space connecting visitors with our community.
Raglan has not seen many new international tourists over the past year or so but Kiwis have been travelling and making the most of seeing NZ and including Raglan as a destination spot.
Pre-Covid days back before March 2020 the iHub was welcoming over 23k visitors per year through its doors. This figure does not include phone calls or email queries. Whilst visitor numbers have dropped significantly the iHub continues to welcome over 5,000 visitors annually which includes lockdown periods for NZ and the Waikato.
Going back with a bit of historical information the Raglan i-SITE and Museum reception, which had been funded by Waikato District Council (WDC) and Waikato Enterprise Agency (WEA), closed on 30 June 2020 due to funding shortages. With a large gap left in the community and everyone recognizing the importance of having an information centre available for the community, The Raglan Chamber of Commerce picked up the baton and along with a working group including representatives from Raglan Museum, Raglan Community Board, Raglan Naturally, Ngāti Māhanga and the Waikato District Council, the Raglan Whaingora iHub was formed in July 2020. The vision was to create an iHub connecting visitors with our community, to provide a knowledge hub for the local community, and to ensure a range of experiences to showcase our people, our landscape, our stories, and our place was made. The iHub also aligns with the Raglan Naturally Community Plan which is to have oversight on the visitor economy in our community and provide strong leadership in the future development of tourism in the Raglan Ward.
The newly formed Raglan iHub opened its doors officially 1st April 2021 and with the assistance from an incredible team of volunteers have managed to keep the doors open during a pandemic.
The iHub is governed by the Whaingaroa Raglan Destination Management Organisation (WRDMO) with Jacqueline Anderson appointed as the new manager for the Raglan iHub. As the centre continues to move ahead in these challenging times, the focus is on re-igniting tourism and to stimulate a shift towards a regenerative, low carbon, productive tourism sector as we all work towards a rebuild following on from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The iHub is really excited to be a part of this for the community and have a few key iniatives in place such as:
• Supporting Raglan Local Energy who provide an easy way for the community to buy, sell and gift clean, local energy
• Working alongside and supporting Whaingaroa Environment Center and the Raglan Growers Market as they create a flourishing market where local growers can bring homegrown produce to the wider community, strengthening community food resilience
• Providing an iHub retail space for creative Raglan Artists to sell local art, food, upcycling and produce
• Sharing iHub space with the Raglan Naturally team every 3rd Thursday of the month
A key piece of new research is currently underway working alongside our local accommodation providers as we aim for a better understanding of what we have. With Covid-19 we know that many accommodation and tourism operators have been impacted. We no longer know what we have available or what our local capacity is. We are currently undertaking a comprehensive stocktake of accommodation providers to determine capacity, economic benefit of accommodation providers to the Raglan economy, as well as types of accommodation available. If you are an accommodation provider and would like to be involved, Anna Fisher is leading this research and would love to hear from you!
We also have a new signboard about to be installed in front of the iHub proudly sponsored by Raglan Local Energy. There are currently 24 spaces available for sale at a reasonable rate. As a supporter of the iHub, our iHub team will also be actively supporting and promoting your business to visitors when we are open. When we are closed, your sign will speak for itself! As well as the sign board to promote your business, we will also add your business info onto Raglan iHub website. Contact the team at the iHub for more information if you wish to advertise with us.
The Raglan iHub is keeping the doors open for the community and to be an iHub space for all to connect. Come in and see us we are open 7 days a week 10am – 3pm and if you want to be a part of our awesome volunteering team as an ambassador representing Whaingaroa reach out to us we would love to hear from you.
For further information contact Jacqueline Anderson, Raglan iHub Manager or the Raglan iHub team firstname.lastname@example.org Ph.: 07 825 0556 visit our website @raglanihub