Behind most sustainable tourism development lies a sound feasibility study and a solid business plan. TRC Tourism is frequently asked to provide professional independent advice on a project’s viability and recently worked with Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, an established and unique visitor experience based in Marlborough that has successfully implemented and delivered two initial stages of development and is looking to move forward with their next proposed expansion project.

As one of New Zealand’s leading heritage experiences, this is a stand-out example of how a niche sector – such as heritage aviation – can be activated to cater to the needs of a passionate special interest community, residents and visitors. 

The proposed expansion project, estimated at over NZ$13 million, will join two existing exhibitions, establish facilities for a café and create function space for up to 700 people. Upgrades to existing infrastructure are also included.

Investigating the feasibility of the expansion project included an assessment of how the current visitor experience is being delivered for two different markets, leisure travellers and conferences and events. Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre has already built an international reputation, attracting visitors to the region and facilitating regional dispersal into Marlborough. As an all-weather year-round attraction, it also supports off-peak visitation. The benefits and opportunities for growth in the broader visitor economy in Marlborough were also considered, including the attraction of high-value travellers and visitors interested in museums, galleries and heritage sites (where evidence suggests these types of visitors stay longer and spend more).

Based on the findings of the feasibility study, it was the recommendation of TRC Tourism that Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre proceed to prepare a business plan and investment case to secure funding to progress the expansion project to the next stage.

TRC Tourism then progressed to the next stage of developing a Business Case, providing the background and justification for the expansion of Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre and potential partnership and investment opportunities to deliver this highly beneficial project. 

Economic modelling over a 10 year period was prepared by our TRC Tourism partner, Michael Connell & Associates.

The Business Case has now become the foundation document for the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre to now confidently proceed with fund raising for the new development.