Rotorua's iconic visitor sights and attractions could help open up a lucrative new international tourism market.

The city is currently hosting a large group comprising some of Europe's top travel agents, part of a marketing program to promote the destination to emerging markets.

The group, which arrived on Sunday, comprises of 60 top agents from European countries, most from Germany and Austria, will be hosted by Destination Rotorua and its tourism partners.

The travel company involved in the special incentive 'famil' (familiarisation visit), Meier's Weltreisen, is the second largest wholesale travel business in Germany.


Destination Rotorua trade marketing manager Patrick Dault said Meier's was an important tourism partner for New Zealand and Rotorua.

Germany is New Zealand's sixth largest tourism market, with German visitors staying an average 48 days on holiday in the country and spending an average of $4200 per visitor.

Mr Dault said the German tourism market had room for more growth with opportunities for further increasing the average length of stay and spend.

"One of our challenges is to improve the awareness of Rotorua and knowledge of what our destination offers, not only with our tourism products, but also our unique experiences.

"We've so much to offer in terms of nature, unique geothermal landscapes and traditional and contemporary Maori culture."

Mr Dault said the familiarisation trip, which had been organised in conjunction with Tourism New Zealand, was a great way to showcase Rotorua as a destination to key travel agents, who would in turn be able to promote Rotorua and New Zealand to prospective travellers.

"We want to features some of our iconic products and landscapes, such as Mount Tarawera, our 18 lakes and our fabulous fishing as well as White Island, a Bay of Plenty icon."

The European tourism group will be in Rotorua for three days to visit attractions and take part in an industry trade show where tourism operators will showcase their products.


Mr Dault said building relationships with the visiting travel agents would help drive visitors to Rotorua throughout the year, rather than traditional peak tourism seasons.