A record number of local tourism businesses are heading to Auckland for the largest
tourism trade expo in the country.
The annual Trenz tourism expo begins on Tuesday and runs until Friday. It brings together more than 250 tourism businesses, 350 national and international tourism agents and buyers and dozens of media representatives.
Rotorua will be represented by 26 regional tourism operators, 18 of those will be part of a regional site in The Cloud and Shed 10 at Queens Wharf on Auckland's waterfront, with eight more joining the national site.
Rotorua rafting company River Rats owner/operator Justin Hutton said this year would be his 14th Trenz and not only was the event a great chance to catch up with local and national tourism operators, but also with buyers from around the world who want to be, or who already are, his customers.
Mr Hutton said while New Zealand was experiencing a tourism boom, his rafting business had taken a bit of a hit recently with high winds and high river levels forcing the cancellation of rafting and kayaking trips down the Kaituna, Rangitikei and Wairoa rivers.
He said part of his job this year would be to reassure his clients it was business as usual.
"We've always thought there was great value for money at Trenz, that's why we do it.
"It's not all about attracting new business either, but that is always front of mind as there are new opportunities with new agents coming along."
He said his largest markets were travellers from Australia, followed by the USA and UK.
"It's been a bit of a funny season really, weather has skewed our numbers a little bit, but over the last few years there has been steady growth."
This year he'd also be showing off some new innovations in the rafting industry such as virtual reality and I-Fly technology that records rafting trips in extreme conditions.
Destination Rotorua international trade manager Patrick Dault said he and a small team would be hard at work for the week promoting Rotorua as a destination.
"It's the only time during the year where we can meet international buyers on our home turf and it's an incredible opportunity to showcase Rotorua and our tourism products.
"As well, it is the perfect opportunity to change perceptions and educate tourism professionals on what makes Rotorua unique and a must visit on any itinerary in New Zealand and what are the innovations happening in the region.
"We are hoping to plant the seed with international clients that Rotorua is a three-night destination and the gateway to the South Island with our connectivity to Christchurch and then on to Queenstown.
"We are attending Trenz to support the products that are attending the show but also the many other products that decided not to attend this year.
"Ensuring that Rotorua is presented as a vibrant destination with a wide range of experiences such as authentic cultural products, exceptional eco-tourism and eco-adventure proposition, unique geothermal offer, spa and wellness, education and as the adventure tourism capital of the North Island."
Mr Dault said as growth during peak tourism times was limited, Rotorua needed to invest in the future if it wanted tourism to keep contributing to Rotorua's economy.
Rotorua tourism businesses at Trenz 2017
Maori In Tourism
Whakarewarewa - The Living Maori Village
Multi Day Adventures
Wai o Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Lakeland Queen/Wai Ora Group
Rotorua Duck Tours
Mitai Maori Village
Rotorua Canopy Tours
Te Puia/New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute
Ngai Tahu Tourism (Rainbow Springs, Agrodome, Huka Falls Jet)
Skyline Rotorua/Skyline Queenstown