As the doors fling open today to visitors, the effort by the tourism sector to get back up and running is being pushed with a new visitor campaign.

Destination Rotorua has launched the second phase of its In Our Element marketing campaign, encouraging residents to explore their backyard and to support local businesses.

Local operators eagerly waiting to start making an income are hoping locals and the rest of the country are itching to get out and will come in hordes.

Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer said as the city moved into level 2 from today, the local marketing campaign became an important source of information between locals, tourism operators and the wider business community.


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"We need more than ever to support each other as much as we can. The first phase of our locals' campaign focused on businesses that were open in level 3, which were largely retail and food and beverage. As we move into level 2, these businesses still need our support but there's also the opportunity to explore our wider backyard and visit the incredible attractions and activities on our doorstep.

"People come from all over the world to experience this special place and yet we have all of these natural wonders and world-class activities right outside our doors," she said.

"That's why the campaign talks about us all being 'In Our Element'."

The Explore Local aspect of the campaign was launched this week and introduces local activities and attractions as they reopen. It lists all of the special deals that are available to Rotorua residents in one centralised place on the Rotorua NZ website.

"Now we're moving into level 2, we're able to showcase all the tourism operators that can open at this level," said Templer.

"As well as inspiring people to enjoy their own back yard, we also hope this campaign will help locals be great ambassadors for Rotorua by encouraging friends and family to visit."

Destination Rotorua's Explore Local campaign logo. Photo / Supplied
Destination Rotorua's Explore Local campaign logo. Photo / Supplied

Redwoods Treewalk owner Bruce Thomasen said they were ready to open day and night for seven days a week from today.


Locals pay half price at $15 each and as an incentive for domestic visitors is offering a buy a day walk and get a night walk free, or vice versa.

The new guided walk experience called Altitude, which opened in January, would remain closed until level 1.

"We have hand sanitiser, washing stations and a new way of allowing people on to the walk with people on their own platforms at one time. We are looking forward to it and breathing in the fresh forest air."

Thomasen said it was hard to know how busy it would be.

"If we can get 20 to 30 people a day to start with I'd be happy."

He said being able to travel inter-regionally put Rotorua in a good position.

"We are hoping Auckland, Waikato and the rest of the Bay of Plenty will be supporting Rotorua."

Velocity Rotorua will open for business this weekend. Photo / Supplied
Velocity Rotorua will open for business this weekend. Photo / Supplied

Velocity Valley owner Simon Short said his staff would spend the rest of this week preparing to open at the weekend.

Short said he was quietly confident people would return if the inquiries and online activity was anything to go by.

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"But we just don't know to be honest. Fingers crossed people will be dying and itching to do stuff and they will come here."

Short said 70 per cent of its visitors were from New Zealand so if they could survive winter it would be okay. Today's Budget announcement would be crucial, he said.

"I will be staring there glued to the TV."

Secret Spot general manager Keith Kolver (left) and director Eric Kolver prepare to open next week. Photo / File
Secret Spot general manager Keith Kolver (left) and director Eric Kolver prepare to open next week. Photo / File

Secret Spot owner Keith Klover said the campaign would help bring back tourists but it wasn't able to open until Thursday next week because of the way the bar operated.

"When we do open, it will be for seven days. If people are going to make the effort to come here, we will give them things to do." The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website