After a 17-year career in various roles for the Skyline group, Rotorua tourism identity Bruce Thomasen will hand over the reins at Skyline Rotorua to concentrate on his own tourism business.

He spoke to the Rotorua Daily Post while attending his final Trenz tourism expo for Skyline in Auckland.

Mr Thomasen started as an 18-year-old hotel worker in Rotorua, working his way up to general manager of one of Rotorua's most successful tourist destinations.

He will pass the torch to another local, former Rotorua Boys' High School student Andrew Jensen, at the end of June.

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But he won't be going far. He and wife Kellie will concentrate their energies on developing one of Rotorua's newest tourism offerings - The Redwoods Treewalk - and will work part-time as an adviser to the Skyline group.

Mr Thomasen said the decision to leave Skyline was hard to make, "but it's really about timing, the reality is working two jobs in one day was hard work".

"Skyline was a significant part of my career and is a great company, so I'm pleased to be able to carry on with them in a part-time capacity.

"They have gone from strength to strength, want to continue to invest in its products and its people, and aims to be the best in the world at what it does."

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He will take on the role of full-time managing director at the tree walk and is co-founder and majority shareholder of the attraction with Alex Schmidt.

"The tree walk has proven to be a very successful business and there are a number of projects we want to deliver there - this will allow us to make those developments happen."

The company wants to add to the popular night time Treewalk and build a new viewing platform 5m higher into the tree canopy with a see-through floor and spiral staircase by the start of next summer.

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They also have plans to build another tree-top attraction much higher up in the canopy that is scheduled for opening at the end of 2018.

"The Redwoods are the soul of our city and it's a very significant part of the lifestyle in Rotorua.

"We are really pleased to be able to share that with our visitors."

Mr Thomasen said while tourism was doing very well at the moment people still had to be cautious.

"These things can be cyclical and the double-digit growth we have been experiencing is not going to continue forever.

"Having said that, New Zealand is an exciting and safe destination and I don't see any reason why that will change in the short to medium term."

He said a lot of his success was down to his passion and belief Rotorua was one of the best places in the world to live and visit.

"Now is the time Rotorua can get it right, we have not seen such rapid growth in a very long time and it's heading in a positive direction, and that's got to be good for all of us."

Skyline executive chairman Mark Quickfall said Mr Thomasen's leadership at Skyline Rotorua resulted in the introduction of new activities and continuous improvement with recognition by way of several tourism and business awards.

"His energy and enthusiasm will certainly be missed."

Matthew Martin is covering Trenz 2017 as a guest of Tourism Industry Aotearoa.
Bruce Thomasen
- Began working in hotels in Rotorua at 18
- Joined the Skyline group in 2000
- General manager of Skyline Luge, Mt Tremblant, Canada 2003/04
- General manager of Skyline Luge, Sentosa Island, Singapore 2005
- Skyline international product manager, based in New Zealand 2008
- General manager Skyline Rotorua from 2011