"One of the strengths of being a smallish town is that when everyone comes together we can have a big impact."
Those are the words of Destination Rotorua's interim chief executive Andrew Wilson, who says there is confidence among business leaders in Rotorua's ability to recover after Covid.
Wilson has stepped into the top job for the six months while Michelle Templer works with Rotorua Lakes Council strategy team's economic development task force.
She will be in a new role focused exclusively on supporting Rotorua's post-Covid recovery.
It is not Wilson's first experience with the organisation, having been the interim chief executive in 2016 when Destination Rotorua and Grow Rotorua were merged.
Speaking with NZME, Wilson said it was the opportune time to do something a little different.
"I've always enjoyed a challenge. After this, it will be on to a new challenge so we'll have to wait and see where we land."
Since 2016, Wilson has had his fingers in a few pies, including running his own consultancy doing strategy work for people around the country, doing small to medium-sized business coaching through Firestation and working on a casual basis for the council.
Wilson also started Salt and Tonic with Matt Browning which was centred on putting together technology solutions.
He said Destination Rotorua's chief executive role had definitely shifted since he was last there.
"Full credit to Michelle, she has built a great team around her and it was really pleasant to walk in here, there's a lot of talented people who know what they're doing.
"Clearly business as usual for Destination looked different prior to Covid so we need to think about how we operate differently as an organisation.
"But some of the fundamentals stay the same, we are here to support not just the tourism industry but local businesses.
"A large part of that relies on how we feed quality information to them to support them to make the best decisions."
He said the organisation was also working more closely with the council in this Covid environment around the city's economic recovery.
"We're worrying less about the boundary between the council's team and our team, now it's all hands to the pump to make sure we are doing the best for the city and as that work evolves, we will see ourselves get involved in some slightly different projects we wouldn't have in the past."
When asked how he thought the tourism industry was coping with the effects of Covid, Wilson said it had undoubtedly been a tough time but the sector was "a really resilient bunch".
"I think we've been really fortunate to see New Zealanders looking to explore their own country so fortunately, we've been seeing some strong weekends since level 4 lockdown lifted.
"The Government has been supportive with the wage subsidy and now the next set of programmes it is in the midst of putting in place so that's helped to soften some of the blow.
"But there is still a long way to go and a huge amount of uncertainty in terms of when will we see borders reopen and what shape or form will that look like. Some of our operators need to think a little bit differently about the markets they have traditionally relied on.
"There are a lot of moving parts and there is no magic bullet, it's going to continue to be a lot of hard work but we are working collectively with them to see how we manage those impacts."
Wilson said when it came to marketing the city as a destination, Rotorua always had a "reasonable domestic focus".
"It's a certain amount of business as usual as we think about how we market Rotorua in the best possible way but there is also a recognition we need to be thinking a little differently and respond a little more rapidly to some of the opportunities that may occur.
"Our view is that we need to keep up a sustained effort in that space so it won't be a big, flash, one-off campaign on TV, rather a sustained effort to make sure we're doing everything we can to keep domestic visitors coming to the destination."
There was an air of positivity among business leaders and a confidence in the city's ability to recover post-Covid, Wilson said.
"When you go and talk to the business leaders, yes there is a lot of uncertainty there, but they are all invested in how we make this place work and I think as a smallish town, one of our strengths is when everyone does come together we can have a big impact.
"We have some amazing business leaders in our community and part of our job is to unleash them and hope we can keep up."