A group of Air New Zealand cabin crew reckon their Rotorua team trip could boost tourism in the city.
Ben Moors, one of the airline's 120 flight service managers, brought his team of 10 international flight attendants to the city yesterday for an action-packed two-day team outing.
Mr Moors says the team exercise could also lead to more overseas tourists stopping off in Rotorua, thanks to the personal recommendations from the crew.
"It's a great opportunity for them [crew] to experience things to take back on board and inspire customers,'' he said.
"It's amazing the number of customers that don't have arrangements for their time in New Zealand.''
Mr Moors said cabin crew were constantly asked for recommen dations of where to go and what the "must see'' attractions in New Zealand were, especially by passengers with a limited time or flexible itinerary.
He said part of the Air New Zealand brand was the "Share your New Zealand'' idea, so his Auckland-based team were excited about visiting Rotorua and being able to share their experiences.
Mr Moors said the trip was out of the ordinary _ most of the other teams had stayed in Auckland for their team function, although a couple had gone to Taranaki.
It was a conversation with Mitai Maori Village marketing manager Tania Charteris that sparked the idea to venture south.
Ms Charteris spent nine years as an international flight attendant so knew first hand the influence they can have on visitors.
"Passengers were always asking us what can we do, what can we see?'' she said. "People can read as many books as they like before coming to a place, but, at the end of the day, first-hand experience and talking like a friend outweighs that.''
With Mr Moors' team on a zero budget, she rang around a few local tourist operators who all agreed to host the visitors for free.
"They said by all means, they saw the benefits,'' she said. "This will help drive people to come here and spend longer periods here. They [visitors] don't have that concept of time, how much we have to offer.''
Yesterday the team enjoyed a walk in the Redwoods, activities with Multiday Adventures, Skyline Gondolas and the
Agrodome before dinner and a performance at Mitai. This morning, they were to visit Agroventures before returning to Auckland. Sudima Hotel provided the accommodation.
Ms Charteris said she would be keen to build a long-term relationship with Air New Zealand to host more cabin crew.
"I'm pretty sure Air New Zealand would welcome that with open arms,'' she said.
She said familiarisations or "famils'' were a crucial part of the tourism industry, with Mitai regularly hosting tour company operators and local accommodation providers.
Mr Moors plans to include a story on the Rotorua trip in the company's internal publication Cruise News, which goes to 3000 people, and a weekly staff email update. Not to mention thousands of incoming passengers from all over the world.
"The tourism operators have allowed us to come for free, so I want to give back my talking to our customers more [about them].''