Minister Of Tourism Launches Resort College
March 9 2006
Minister Of Tourism Launches Showcase Resort College In Queenstown
MARCH 9 2006: New Zealand's first dedicated edu-tourism facility, Queenstown Resort College (QRC) was officially opened today (March 9) by the Minister of Tourism Hon Damien O'Connor, underlining the role the new resort college will play in the New Zealand tourism industry.
QRC has been the long term vision of CEO Emeritus Associate Jan Fitz-Gerald who developed the concept over many years, joining forces with former Chancellor of Otago University Eion Edgar to make it a reality.
"QRC combines New Zealand's two most successful export industries, education and tourism. It is a completely new product which adds to the national tourism mix," says Ms Fitz-Gerald. "It is significant that Damien O'Connor has officially opened the College. It is probably the first time a Tourism Minister has launched an educational facility in New Zealand and his endorsement reinforces the importance of QRC's edu-tourism role."
Ms Fitz-Gerald says establishing the College was challenging from the outset with a number of site, planning and registration issues to overcome.
"But the final location with its proximity to Central Queenstown is excellent. The purpose built building is everything I had hoped we would achieve. It is a quality five star resort college reflecting the same international sophistication which Queenstown is renowned for."
As a resort college QRC represents a new classification of tertiary institutions in New Zealand.
"QRC is opening in a climate where relevancy and quality are paramount for the students and industries we serve. Many institutions both in New Zealand and overseas are being challenged to meet the high standards which QRC is committed to," says Ms Fitz-Gerald. "Certainly the new concept we presented had its bureaucratic obstacles, because we were different and our philosophy was difficult to understand."
"We established early on a need for resort education. Internationally resort destinations suffer from seasonality problems and attracting long term skilled workers. A key role for QRC is to help provide professionally trained staff, to meet the projected employment shortage both locally and nationally, and what better place to operate than in Queenstown which is the New Zealand tourism and hospitality mecca."
Opening the new facility Hon Damien O'Connor reinforced QRC's focus.
"A highly skilled workforce is important for the growth of our economy. The supply of staff and the need for skills that meet the requirements of the tourism industry are key growth issues. Education will play a major part in ensuring that we produce people with the right skills".
QRC's distinctive building makes an outstanding statement in its Queenstown alpine setting. Its timeless architecture , quality interior and state -of -the art technology is unrivalled in New Zealand. The complex incorporates an exclusive executive suite hospitality demonstration suite and a unique Book Café.
QRC has developed partnerships with the prestigious International College of Management Sydney in association with César Ritz Colleges of Switzerland, the University of Otago, Outward Bound NZ ® and Novotel Gardens Hotel Queenstown to help deliver its courses.
Two hundred people including MP's, ambassadors, education and tourism industry leaders and local dignitaries attended today's opening of Queenstown Resort College, to mark the launch of the country's first resort college, which is poised to enhance New Zealand's image in the international education arena.