Preparations for the National i-SITE Visitor Information Network Conference being held at the Chateau Tongariro Hotel in September are in well under way, with nearly half of the expected 120 delegates already confirmed.
Ruapehu i-SITE network manager Kim Treen said many of the delegates who had confirmed attendance so far were booking for a full five nights, covering the three-day conference and two days of famils, where they will get out-and-about around Ruapehu experiencing all the region has to offer.
Feedback from the national i-SITE organisation indicates an air of anticipation and excitement from the i-SITE staff all around NZ about coming to Ruapehu.
"The i-SITE conference is a major opportunity to showcase everything Ruapehu has to offer to industry professionals whose job it is to advise travellers on what to see and do," Mrs Treen said.
"A big part of the conference is the delegates undertaking 'famils', which is the tourism industry term for tourism sales and marketing staff experiencing activities and seeing firsthand what a region has to offer so they can better recommend Ruapehu to people."
Delegates attending the conference are spoiled for choice with the famil programme, with local tourism operators very keen to support the conference and showcase Ruapehu.
The visitor experiences on offer include
- ski and snow sports on Mt Ruapehu
- walks in and around Tongariro National Park, including the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
- mountain biking on Fishers Track
- Old Coach Rd and Timber Trail
- scenic flights
- Forgotten World Rail Cart Journeys
- the National Army Museum
- jet boating on the Whanganui River.
Mrs Treen said that many of the delegates would arrive on a special Northern Explorer "Great Journeys of NZ" conference train sponsored by KiwiRail from Auckland to National Park that has put on just for the event.
The special Northern Explorer i-SITE conference train is a first for NZ and the conference.