Rotorua tourism operators and officials are hoping a government announcement regarding a regional tourism boost will put them on a level playing field with the rest of the country.
Associate Minister of Tourism Paula Bennett visited Trenz, New Zealand's largest tourism conference, in Rotorua today saying an important announcement regarding regional tourism was expected to be made by Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key in Rotorua tomorrow.
While she would not go into any detail she did say "we have specific sympathy with those [regions] with low ratepayer bases and yet high volumes of people that are either choosing it as a destination or passing through, so it can be pretty tough on those smaller places to accommodate that".
Destination Rotorua Marketing general manager Oscar Nathan, Skyline Rotorua general manager Bruce Thomasen and Rotorua Duck Tours managing director Trevor Weir were unanimous in saying Rotorua could do with better infrastructure to cope with the rising numbers of tourists - both domestic and international.
"Without knowing any details, investment in terms of stimulating infrastructure growth and new development would be key to Rotorua's future, including new hotel stock such as a 4.5 star hotel," Mr Nathan said.
"If they want to disperse more tourists, public facilities such as toilets would be useful, and getting consistency across New Zealand for issues such as freedom camping would also help."
Mr Thomasen said a five-star, 200 plus room hotel would be on his wish list.
"It's a niche that's missing, if there's ways to make that happen it would be fantastic with a lot of high end visitor demand, especially out of Asia.
"We know getting visitors to regional New Zealand is good for jobs and the economy. It's estimated that wages generated in Rotorua for tourism is more than $150 million per annum.
"Anything that helps develop infrastructure that makes the destination more attractive and people staying longer and do more, is valuable."
Mr Weir said additional infrastructure was a must, with Rotorua being full to capacity at times over the peak season. He also said an emphasis on more tourism during the slower months around winter would be excellent.
"But we have to be careful and we can't overdo it. We are expecting a lot more additional people, especially from China, coming here so they need to have that quality experience in place.
"There's also a big problem with self drive for overseas visitors with them coming off a plane and hopping into a car. We need much more education around that problem."