The people behind some of Hawke's Bay's biggest events are working together to boost tourism by creating new region-wide events.
Following the adoption of Matariki (the Hawke's Bay regional economic development strategy), an event management group has been examining how to enhance visitor satisfaction and increase spend.
Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said the group had made "positive progress" in its efforts to support and resource continued collaboration between organisations responsible for events.
"Hawke's Bay Tourism, local council events staff and event managers from around the region are working collaboratively to ensure a vibrant and economically beneficial event schedule is in place."
Members of the group met on a monthly basis in a formal capacity to discuss upcoming events, event support, changes to health and safety as it relates to the event industry, and regional co-ordination of activities around event activations.
In addition to formal meetings, members also met informally to discuss individual events with managers of regionally significant events including Horse of the Year, Triple Peaks, Hawke's Bay Marathon and The Big Easy.
Ms Dundas said The Big Easy was originally established as a regional initiative to support the extensive network of cycle trails throughout Hawke's Bay.
"This event has become increasingly popular and is now in its sixth year. It takes place over Easter each year and sees approximately 2500 riders partake in a fun, easy cycle on the trails across the entire region. Though it started off in Napier and Hastings it has now expanded into Central Hawke's Bay and Wairoa, making it a truly regional event."
The group also supported the successful bid to host the Air New Zealand Hawke's Bay International Marathon, an event that takes place in the off-season.
"This was a truly regional initiative with each entity sharing the partnership cost. This event was secured for three years and has brought close to 12,000 people into Hawke's Bay each May – a month normally outside the visitor season."
She added that Summer and Winter FAWC! are now both firmly established as iconic Hawke's Bay events and are well supported by Napier and Hastings in terms of city and district branding.
"Winter FAWC! in June, sells between 3000 and 5000 tickets and Summer FAWC! between 5000 and 6000 tickets. A significant number of ticket sales are to food and wine lovers from outside the region."
The group would also work to support events outside the summer tourism peak and providing a balanced event portfolio across the whole of the year.
It had also produced several reports to assess the visitor impact of events such as Art Deco Weekend and Horse of the Year.
"In the coming months the Event Managers Group will continue to support and leverage the events the region runs, seek to develop new events that fit with seasonal messaging and build resources for the industry to further enable them to run better, more efficient events.
"Long term, the primary goal remains the same – to increase visitor spend. The group would also like to ensure existing events continue to thrive, and to see more annual visitor events developed, bringing ongoing economic benefits to Hawke's Bay.
"The Regional Advisory Events Group will look at new events that specifically help to fill quieter visitor months and will work with event managers from out of the region to bring new events to us – these could be cultural events, sports or music related.
"Events provide reasons for people to visit Hawke's Bay. This is new money into our region, money that would not have come into Hawke's Bay had those events not occurred here."