Last week I was lucky enough to attend our biggest, most important annual tourism showcase in one of our top destinations, Rotorua.
The Trenz conference, which this year brought together more than 650 international trade buyers, local operators and media, was held over four days at the city's Energy Events Centre for the second year running. There were inspiring briefings by industry heavyweights, such as Air New Zealand's Christopher Luxon, Tourism New Zealand's Kevin Bowler and Weta Workshop's David Wilks. In short, the mood was buoyant, the atmosphere buzzing.
The industry, we were told by all, is in "good heart"; Tourism Industry Aotearoa boss Chris Roberts said we were "killing it". Visitor numbers are soaring, and more importantly, visitor spend is rising year on year. There was talk of how to manage the massive influx of tourists who are flocking here in droves, and Prime Minister -- and Tourism Minister - John Key announced $20 million in extra tourism funding in this year's Budget, $12 million of which will go to our smaller communities to help with their growing infrastructure needs.
The event is also an opportunity to showcase its host city, and Rotorua gleamed. The event was seamless, from start to finish, and there was plenty of opportunity to explore why it's one of our best visitor destinations. We experienced Maori culture attractions, geothermal parks, adventure activities, food and beverage offerings, and live entertainment. Organisers announced that next year's event will be in Auckland, so it'll be our chance to shine. Rotorua has set the bar very high.