Rotorua has scooped a major international award cementing the city's place as one of the top events destinations in the country - if not the world.
The city's reputation for hosting world-class events was recognised on a global scale with the presentation of an International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) World Festival and Event City Award.
Rotorua was the only region in New Zealand to receive an award this year.
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The IFEA awards are designed to recognise "exemplary" cities around the world that have "raised the bar" in relation to hosting community and major events. Judges acknowledged the city's "community leadership and ongoing, concerted efforts and support to provide a positive local environment that is conducive to and encourages the success and growth of festivals and events."
The Rotorua District Council Events and Venues team co-ordinated Rotorua's entry, in partnership with Destination Rotorua Marketing and a number of other agencies and organisations.
Events and Venues general manager Peter McLeod said the result gave formal, international recognition that Rotorua had the expertise, infrastructure and passion to deliver outstanding events on a par with anything held in New Zealand, or the rest of the world.
"Over the past 10 years, events have evolved and developed internationally to the point where they are regarded as an important tool for promoting a region as a great place to do business, live, play and visit.
"Our major and community events make a considerable economic contribution to the region's growth strategy and add value to our destinational brand.
"Events attract visitors to Rotorua, who spend money on food, accommodation and activities.
"But, just as importantly, events contribute to the vibrancy of our local communities, providing quality activities and attractions for Rotorua's residents to experience and enjoy."
Mr McLeod said the award also gave deserved recognition to Events and Venues' Community and Major Events team, led by manager Martin Croft.
"This is a small but efficient team of just three people who punch well above their weight in terms of attracting, creating and supporting world-class community and major events," Mr McLeod said.
In the past year, Rotorua has hosted more than 150 major and community events, including the Glo Festival, a plenty of running, triathlon and multisport events, including Xterra and the Tarawera Ultra-marathon, Raggamuffin, Te Matatini, the Rotorua Bike Festival, Rotorua Marathon, Fire and Ice Festival and the Lakeside concert.
In 2011, Rotorua hosted three matches in the Rugby World Cup and, in the past, has hosted other high profile events such as the World Blind Sailing championship in 2009, the 2006 World Mountain Bike championship and the 2005 British and Irish Lions Rugby Tour.
In the next nine months, the city will host the World Rafting championships, the 50th running of the Rotorua Marathon, the Glo Festival and Raggamuffin 2014.
In the past 12 months, it is estimated more than 200,000 people have been involved in Rotorua events as a participant or a spectator, with hundreds more involved as volunteers.