Some were surprised when global travel guide Lonely Planet judged Taranaki the world’s second best region to visit in 2017, the locals were more concerned about who spilled the beans

ut a visit to the region will prove there's a lot happening there, and much of the action is helping position Taranaki as an attractive MICE market.

Lonely Planet focused on two major developments - the Pouakai Crossing one-day walk on Mount Taranaki and the Len Lye Centre adjoining the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, and heaped further praise on local eateries.

The gallery is the hub of a rapidly growing hospitality precinct that also includes the expansive TSB Showplace event venue and a number of interesting smaller spaces. It's also at the heart of a new product targeted to the MICE sector by Cathy Thurston at Discover Taranaki, which includes a guided tour and dining in the stylish adjoining Monica's Eatery.

Cathy also offers a similar tour of Puke Ariki Museum that and a historic walking tour of New Plymouth's inner city, and of the city's iconic Pukekura Park.

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"The region has a lot to offer the MICE market, and in presenting ready-to-go options we're aiming to make it easier and cost effective to deliver for groups of any size," says Discover Taranaki's Cathy Thurston.

New Plymouth District Council is also recognising the potential of the conference and event industry, with plans well underway for two new corporate suites to be constructed at the city's Yarrow Stadium. Overlooking the region's top rugby ground, the lounges will add versatile hosting options for up to 160 guests.

The new lounges are due to be up and running in July, well ahead of the All Blacks Argentina test in September.

Also on the Council's action list is a major redevelopment at New Plymouth's airport with a spectacular new terminal housing both Air New Zealand and Jetstar connections.