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Bringing Gisborne to the world . . .

Gisborne tourism representatives pitched the region’s offerings to buyers across the world at the nation’s biggest tourism expo.

Representatives from Activate Tairawhiti — Eastland Community Trust’s economic development arm — and four Gisborne tourism operators attended the three-day TRENZ expo in Rotorua to further promote a region already leading New Zealand in growth figures.

Visitors spent $167 million in the Tairawhiti Gisborne region to the year ending February 2019. This was up 15 percent on the previous year and five times the national average of 3 percent, the MBIE’s Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates showed.

TRENZ is the New Zealand tourism industry’s biggest and most influential trade event and this year Gisborne-Tairawhiti put forward its strongest-ever line-up of Qualmark-endorsed visitor experiences to present to international travel buyers.

Three of the Gisborne experience providers were first-time attendees of TRENZ while two were launching entirely new products.

New to market are Maunga Hikurangi Experience and Waka Voyagers Tairawhiti, both of which are TRENZ Gold Qualmark recipients.

Maunga Hikurangi Experience is run by Ngati Porou Holdings Company and NPH programme manager Brett Johnston said they “benefited greatly” from attending TRENZ 2019.

“Ngati Porou have aspirations to share their living culture with the world in a uniquely Ngati Porou way.

“Understanding the tourism industry better is key to success and the support of Activate Tairawhiti in bringing us to Aotearoa’s premium tourism trade event is paving the way for us to be able to confidently invest, resource and succeed in the tourism industry.”

Waka Voyagers Tairawhiti administrator and visitor host Seda Procter said the trade show made for a “phenomenal platform”.

“As a rohe we worked collectively to promote Tairawhiti Gisborne, which in turn we hope will build our economy in a positive and uplifting way.

“We also have to pay tribute to our RTO (regional tourism operator), who believed in our products and supported the journey for all businesses fortunate to attend this event.”

Fellow Qualmark-registered operations Dive Tatapouri and Cycle Gisborne also attended the expo.

Growing the value of the visitor economyActivate Tairawhiti tourism general manager Adam Hughes said over the past 12 months the organisation had prioritised product development as part of its strategy to grow the value of the visitor economy.

“The key to building a strong regional tourism industry is to develop unique, authentic visitor experiences that showcase the best of Tairawhiti.

“Qualmark empowers the RTO and operators to confidently take product to national and international distribution partners.”

Qualmark general manager Gregg Anderson congratulated Activate Tairawhiti on putting in the effort to support businesses through the Qualmark process as part of its product development framework.

“Qualmark accreditation ensures developing products are up to the quality standard required to work with international trade partners.

“The commitment to Qualmark in Tairawhiti shows the region is well on its way to developing a sustainable visitor industry”

ECT chief executive Gavin Murphy said tourism was a catalyst for economic development.

“New money into the Tairawhiti economy from visitor spend will work to improve overall business performance throughout the region. The injection helps create the economic environment for sustainable employment and unlocks additional employment opportunities.”

National carrier Air New Zealand has partnered with Activate Tairawhiti to support the region’s growth agenda, including the development of quality new visitor experiences.

Air New Zealand head of tourism and regional affairs Reuben Levermore said the region made great progress by bringing new trade-ready products to TRENZ.

“Being able to meet face-to-face with hosted international travel buyers will unlock new markets and opportunities for the products as well as the region.”

Tourism Industry Aotearoa manages and produces TRENZ on behalf of the Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust.

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said this year there were 386 buyers attending from 30 markets.

“That’s more buyers and more markets than we had last year, a sign of the continuing popularity of New Zealand as a destination.”

Mr Roberts described TRENZ as “business speed dating,” with more than 15,000 meetings held between buyers and tourism operators.

“Buyers at TRENZ are big players in key international markets such as Australia, China, USA, UK, Germany and Japan, along with developing markets like Brazil and Indonesia.

“These buyers directly influence who comes to New Zealand and what they experience while they are here.”

EXPOSURE: Activate Tairawhiti tourism marketing officer Sam Cameron meets with a prospective buyer at the Tairawhiti Gisborne stand at TRENZ — a three-day tourism expo held in Rotorua. The Gisborne Tairawhiti region is leading the country in tourism growth figures. Picture supplied