Hamilton Gardens receives international recognition
Hamilton Gardens has been recognised as an important international tourism attraction.
The Gardens has been nominated for International Garden of the Year by the World Garden Tourism Council. Previous winners have included the Singapore Botanic Garden and the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle in Merano, Italy.
The Gardens was nominated by World Garden Tourism Council committee member Dr Richard Benfield. Following his visit in 2013 he reported that the Gardens’ concept of telling the Story of Gardens is indeed unique in the world and visually spectacular. “The concept is, by far, the most exciting I have seen in my twenty year career as a researcher in the field of garden tourism.” Dr Benfield is also on the International Garden Tourism Awards jury.
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker says Hamilton Gardens is the most visited tourism attraction in the Waikato – with approximately one million visitors each year.
“For our gardens to be nominated for such an internationally-recognised award really does confirm what we’ve known all along – Hamilton Gardens is a world-class success story.”
“This nomination endorses the direction and vision of the Hamilton Gardens Strategic Plan to create one of the world’s great gardens and deliver associated benefits to the city” Mayor Hardaker added.
The aspirational Strategic Plan for Hamilton Gardens was approved by Council in September 2013. A targeted rate to fast-track development for five more gardens within four years was adopted in the 2014/15 Annual Plan.
The additional gardens, and associated visitor facilities, will cost $7 million, however consultant Horwath HTL estimates this investment will be recouped within three years through increased economic benefits to the region.
The annual award is presented to gardens that have distinguished themselves in the development and promotion of the garden experience as a tourism attraction. The winner will be selected by a jury of international garden and tourism representatives, and announced at the Garden Tourism Conference in Toronto, Canada in March 2015.