Rotorua tourism operators were booking their accommodation just minutes after Dunedin was announced as the host for next year's Trenz tourism expo.

Rumours swirling around Trenz, New Zealand's largest tourism trade expo held in Auckland this week, that Dunedin would host next year's Trenz proved correct with the event heading to the southern city for the first time.

In a break from tradition, where the host city would usually hold the event for two years running, Dunedin, in partnership with Southland and Waitaki, will host the event from May 7 to 10 next year.

Rotorua tourism officials said they did not make any serious attempts to bring the event back next year after hosting it in 2015 and 2016 and said it would be a good move to head to the South Island.


Mayor Steve Chadwick, who visited Trenz today to attend a key tourism stakeholders meeting, said with the museum out of action Rotorua was not really in a position to bring the event back next year.

"We'd had it for two years in a row and it is something that should travel around the country - we are selling 'New Zealand Inc' here," she said.

"It's a fabulous city, they'll gear up and manage the big crowd that will arrive there."

Destination Rotorua general manager Oscar Nathan said Dunedin was a good choice.

"It's fantastic for us to head back to the South Island as we haven't been there for a long time, and with all due respect, we didn't want it back after holding two of the best Trenz on record in the last couple of years.

"It's going to be great for the country, but anyone who has their heads screwed on are already jumping online and are looking at the options that are there."

He said, realistically, the only two other options were Auckland or Rotorua, because Queenstown did not put up its hand to host the event next year.

Skyline Rotorua general manager Bruce Thomasen said promoting regional New Zealand was a great idea and visitors needed to be shown other parts of the country.


Mr Thomasen had already reserved rooms at a few Dunedin hotels for next year's event.

"To get more visitors into the country we need to show them more of New Zealand and it's a great opportunity for Dunedin to showcase itself.

"I think it's also an opportunity for us in Rotorua to really push for a direct jet connection to Queenstown, connecting the jewel of the North Island to the jewel of the South Island, we really need those jet flights heading both ways," he said.

However, River Rats owner operator Justin Hutton was still considering whether he would head south next year.

"It's a year away, but you do have to move it around as Trenz is all about showcasing New Zealand.

"From my perspective it would be an expensive trip and we'd have to allow an extra day for travel, but I've never been to Dunedin, so who knows."