Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick has been confirmed as one of the key-note speakers at the 2016 International Mayor's Forum on Tourism in Zhengzhou, China starting on Tuesday May 24.

She will be accompanied by Rotorua Lakes Council cultural advisor Trevor Maxwell, who was himself the key-note speaker at the world renowned event four years ago.

Most of the world's tourism leaders attend the forum, jointly organised by the China National Tourism Administration, the World Tourism Organisation and the People's Government of Henan Province.

The conference theme is Tourism, Bond of Interaction between Cities.


Mrs Chadwick is speaking on Transformation and Development from Tourism City to City Tourism.

The cost of Mrs Chadwick and Mr Maxwell's trip is being met by conference organisers.

"This is a huge honour for Rotorua," she said.

"The Chinese business community here are very excited. Who knows what opportunity will come out of this?

"We are recognised in China as one of the leading tourism cities in the world. This also gives us an opportunity to meet other world tourism leaders and share our experiences.

"It's a chance to put Rotorua at the centre, but also following on from the TRENZ conference last week, it shows that the New Zealand tourism story is one to be proud of. We're seen as a safe haven.

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"The reason people love to come to Rotorua specifically is our unique point of difference - our cultural tourism, hot springs and mountain biking - it is an iconic place. The rest of the world is watching us.

"I will always remember the words of New Zealand Tourism board chair Kerry Prendergast two years ago who said Rotorua was 'stale'. We'd gone off the boil and we'd forgotten our unique proposition. Since then, we've really refreshed ourselves and added new products into the market."

Mrs Chadwick said she was keen to catch up with other delegates, while one in particular wanted to meet her.

Petr Kulhanek, the mayor of Karlovy Vary, a spa town in the Czech Republic, is a panellist for the discussion after Mrs Chadwick's speech.

His town has hosted a group of Rotorua entertainers for several years and they always take a letter of support from Mrs Chadwick.

"He's dying to meet me," she said.

For Mr Maxwell, it will be his ninth visit to China in 10 years.

In that time he has seen huge change in the country's infrastructure and its people.

"A lot of their young people are travelling the world and Rotorua is seen as a desirable place to visit because of our spas, geothermal activity and our unique Maori culture."

Mr Maxwell is also the kaupapa director for Tourism New Zealand.

"As well as rising numbers of tourists coming to New Zealand, business-to-business links and joint ventures are also expanding. Rotorua is well-placed to take advantage of that."