A Thunderbirds Are Go interactive experience, the longest rail bike adventure in the world and cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs are among the new tourism products that will be on show at TRENZ in Rotorua this year.
TRENZ is the New Zealand tourism industry's premier international trade show. More than 350 international travel and tourism buyers will attend this year's event at the Energy Events Centre from May 10-13.
"These buyers are the most influential in terms of sending visitors to New Zealand. They are coming to TRENZ to meet with 300 of the country's leading tourism operators and will be seeking new and exciting tourism products and experiences they can sell to consumers in their home markets," said Chris Roberts, Chief Executive of the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) which manages the event.
"We are very excited that this year's TRENZ will showcase 74 incredibly diverse new products, ranging from private jet charters, to craft beer tours around Wellington, and a wilderness lodge located on a private peninsula in Golden Bay.
Positively, many will encourage visitors to travel to communities beyond the tourist hotspots, and outside the peak summer season."
Wellington's Weta Workshop's new Thunderbirds Are Go Behind-the-Scenes Experience has wide appeal for international visitors hungry for immersive filmmaking experience in Wellington, said Weta's Head of Tourism, Jake Downing.
"This interactive experience is something we've never offered before and builds on our hugely popular Weta Cave Workshop Tour. Guests will discover the genuine Weta Workshop props, models and miniatures behind the popular TV series, from Tracy Island and the Thunderbird hangars to Creighton Ward manor.
"With season 1 and 2 now airing in many global markets including Japan and the UK and billed to air in the US, TRENZ will help us generate more awareness and interest in the various tourism experiences we offer on Wellington's Miramar Peninsula and help grow our visitor numbers," he said.
Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill is hoping the new attraction will bring more visitors to Southland and ease some of the seasonality issues the region faces, said Tourism Operations Manager Hannah Whyte.
The 15,000m² attraction opened in December 2015 and features over 250 cars, trucks, retro Kombi vans and other vehicles from throughout New Zealand and the world, plus a café, conference rooms and other facilities.
"This will be our first time at TRENZ and we want to establish relationships and introduce Transport World to the industry. We think we have something special and are really pleased to have welcomed over 15,000 visitors, many international," she said.
Taumarunui's Forgotten World Adventures is using TRENZ to help put its products on the international map.
"Currently 90% of our clients are New Zealanders. We know we have a world class tourism product and we can't wait for the rest of the world to find out about us," she general manager Paul Chaplow.
"We will be promoting our new RailBike experience to TRENZ buyers. It will appeal to a more adventurous traveller than we currently attract with our Rail Carts. Both products allow visitors to explore rural New Zealand, travelling along a decommissioned railway line."
Auckland based Fine Art Tours NZ is bringing new bespoke shopping and foodie tour experiences featuring celebrity chefs and fashion brand to TRENZ, in addition to its established tours.
"We're very focused on discerning, creatively minded travellers who seek more than scenery, thrills and spills. Our key markets are the US, Australia, UK and Europe, and increasingly China and Singapore with new interest from India and South America," said director Jacqui Wilkinson.
"We are going to TRENZ to meet new buyers looking to do business with service providers who really appreciate the differing needs of international premium visitors, and to reconnect with our established travel trade partners."
Chris Roberts said the new products that will be on show at TRENZ 2016 highlight the innovation and investment being made in New Zealand's $30 billion tourism industry, now the country's largest export industry, supporting businesses and jobs in communities throughout the country.
"This investment into new quality visitor products and experiences is vital if our tourism industry is to achieve its goal of $41 billion in annual revenue by 2025."