New manager wants winter drawcards

By Lawrence Gullery

Establishing new events for winter in Hawke's Bay will be a major focus for the new regional events manager just appointed by Hawke's Bay Tourism.

Events professional Ann Gregor has taken over the role which will involve co-ordinating all regional event and conference activity.

Ms Gregor recently relocated to Hawke's Bay from Rotorua and has spent the past 21 years in the tourism industry with Sheraton & Accor Hotel Groups, Destination Rotorua Convention Bureau and most recently Volcanic Air Safaris, a tourism scenic aviation company.

She will work alongside other organisations to ensure events are run to their full potential while taking advantage of marketing and promotion opportunities as well as attracting new events.

The job was identified as one of the key outcomes from the wider Regional Events Strategy defined in 2010 and was initially filled by Rebecca McPherson who has moved to Wellington to work.

Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said the region's three biggest events, Art Deco Weekend, The Mission Concert and the Horse of the Year Show, would be coming up over the next three months.

"Those are already individually managed but we want to help co-ordinate their promotion to show people there are some great reasons to visit Hawke's Bay.

"There are a lot of other events during the next three months as well but I think the big focus is to get more of them appearing in the off-season.

"We do have a lot happening during summer and so what we are trying to do is lengthen the event season so we have a reason for people to visit here in the winter as well."

It was important to grow the events calendar into winter to bring "new people and new money" into the regional economy.

"Ann's role will also involve working with all councils and event managers in Hawke's Bay, to understand the problems and how we can work to resolve them so we get a regional approach to all of our events."

Ms Dundas said work on setting up the successful Food and Wine Classic as a winter event was well under way. "We are still finalising dates and names and we are going to get something out to the industry by the end of January."

Ms Gregor will also manage the free regional events calendar, powered by Eventfinda, which supplies event listings to the official regional website and other websites in the region.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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