Hundreds of the New Zealand tourism industry's main players have been left impressed with Hawke's Bay's "sophisticated" visitor attractions, following the conclusion of the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand's annual conference.
"All up there were about 320 delegates and they have been wined and dined and shown Hawke's Bay very well," Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said.
"I guess the outcome for us, is that we have put Hawke's Bay firmly back on the map with many of them who haven't been to Hawke's Bay for a long time. These perceptions and attitudes have completely shifted.
"The feedback coming from them now are saying how sophisticated offerings are.
"They hadn't realised the depth of products we have here. So, really for us now to keep following up with them to ensure they start to contract a bit more products and obviously include Hawke's Bay in more of their itineraries."
Tourism Export Council of New Zealand chief executive Judy Chen said the theme of the two-day conference, held at the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre, focused on "future-proofing the Industry".
"Historically tourism operators have risen to the challenge of change, but the speed in which its happening through technological advances means they can't afford to be complacent about what's ahead.
"Key global trends affecting tourism that were discussed included: climate change, the rise of the ethical consumer, changing demographics and infrastructure, the healthcare revolution, the changing world order and social media.
"There has been a great deal of movement in how we market and what we offer with a strong shift away from large tour groups, to smaller more intimate ones and even individual itineraries being planned by tour operators.
"The massive growth in visitor numbers also means the once, highly relied upon, tour series bookings are no longer the cornerstone of hotel or visitor attraction business. This means tour operators are now competing for space in tourism hot spots rather than having the run of them."