Trenz is the biggest tourism trade show in New Zealand according to organiser Chris Roberts.

"We often bring it back here to Rotorua which is in many ways the natural home of tourism in New Zealand."

The annual event has been going for over 40 years and brings together international buyers of tourist products and packages to meet with New Zealand's leading operators.

"We call it business speed dating," said Roberts. "What happens out here on the floor is 15-minute appointments between a seller of a New Zealand tourism business and a buyer, someone from overseas who's looking to promote products back in their home market."


1500 delegates from 30 different markets around the world, as well as operators from around New Zealand, descended on Rotorua for the four-day event.

"We've filled up a lot of the hotels and accommodation, all being fed, watered, entertained - so quite a big impact on the local economy this week."

Roberts says tikanga Māori is an essential part of our tourism and elements from it will be incorporated into the event throughout the week.

"The entire industry must genuinely incorporate tikanga Māori into its operation, into its proposition for the visitor. Māori is the unique feature of the New Zealand tourism industry. It's the one thing we have that no-one else has and it should be part of everything we do."

International buyers say the scenery is the number one draw for clients but Māori culture is also high on the list.

"Lord of the Rings is still a big part of it," Emma Lund, Destination Manager for Trailfinders in the UK said. "But the Māori culture is definitely something that is kind of exciting and something that you just don't get anywhere else in the world. I think that's a huge draw for our clients as well."

Lund says the All Blacks also play an important part in showcasing Māori culture to the world.

"Rugby's obviously huge in the UK and I think the way Māori culture's tied into rugby, has made it more high profile than perhaps others cultures in other areas around the world. You see the rugby players do the haka and that really makes people know more about it, if that makes sense."


For the local tourism providers though, Trenz offers the opportunity to build new relationships while cementing existing ones.

"Our relationships with those existing customers are very important," Tom Lynch of Foris Ecotours said. "But it's about educating them on our new products and offerings, and it's about recruiting new buyers as well. So it's a mix of initial new business as well as enhancing existing business and looking to develop new markets."

"We know from all the data we've tracked over the years," Roberts added, "that when you hold Trenz your region gets enormous benefit for years to come, because you've been profiled so strongly with those international buyers in particular. So yes, an immediate benefit for Rotorua with a few million dollars this week but tens of millions of dollars of benefit to come."

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