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International events award adds feather to Rotorua’s cap

For Immediate Release

17 September, 2013

International events award adds feather to Rotorua’s cap

Rotorua’s reputation for hosting world-class events has been recognised on a global scale with the city receiving an International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) World Festival and Event City Award, which is sponsored internationally by Visa. The award was announced overnight at the Association’s Annual Conference in Pittsburg, United States. 

Rotorua is the only district in New Zealand to receive an award this year, and in doing so, it has become just the second region in New Zealand to be recognised in the award’s history.

The IFEA awards are designed to recognize “exemplary” cities around the world who have “raised the bar” in relation to hosting community and major events. The award recognizes Rotorua’s status as a region that makes it easy to host successful events, with the judges acknowledging the city’s “community leadership and ongoing, concerted efforts/support to provide a positive local environment that is conducive to and encourages the success and growth of festivals and events.”

The Rotorua District Council’s Events and Venues Rotorua team co-ordinated Rotorua’s entry, in partnership with the Council, Destination Rotorua Marketing and a number of other agencies and organisations.

Events and Venues General Manager, Peter McLeod says the result provides formal, international recognition that Rotorua has the expertise, infrastructure and passion to deliver outstanding events that are on a par with anything held anywhere else in New Zealand or the rest of the world.

“Over the past ten years, events have evolved and developed internationally to the point where they are regarded as an important tool for promoting a region as a great place to do business, live, play and visit. 

“Rotorua is no different in this respect. Our major and community events make a considerable economic contribution to the region’s growth strategy and add value to our destinational brand.

“Events attract visitors to Rotorua, who spend money on food, accommodation and activities. But just as importantly, events contribute to the vibrancy of our local communities, providing quality activities and attractions for Rotorua’s residents to experience and enjoy.

“We are proudly ‘Famously Rotorua’ and this award reinforces the fact that we are now truly world famous for our events as well,” says Mr McLeod.

Mr McLeod says the award also provides deserved recognition to Events and Venues’ Community and Major Events team, led by manager Martin Croft.

“This is a small but efficient team of just three people who punch well above their weight in terms of attracting, creating and supporting world-class community and major events. This international recognition is a further credit to them and their efforts.”

In the past 12 months, Rotorua has hosted more than 150 major and community events, including the GLO Festival, a myriad of running, triathlon and multisport events including XTERRA and the Tarawera Ultramarathon, Raggamuffin, Te Matatini, the Rotorua Bike Festival, Rotorua Marathon, Fire and Ice, the Lakeside concert and many more.

In 2011, Rotorua played a prominent role in the Rugby World Cup with three international pool games and a major festival of community events throughout the event. Other high profile events in recent years include the 2005 British and Irish Lions Tour, the 2006 World Mountain Bike Champs, the 2010 World Mountain Bike Single Speeds and the World Blind Sailing Champs in 2009.

In the next nine months, Rotorua will host the World Rafting Champs, the 50th running of the Rotorua Marathon, GLO and a host of other summer events.

In the past 12 months, it is estimated that more than 200,000 people have been involved in Rotorua events as a participant or a spectator, with hundreds more involved as volunteers.

“The value of events to the Rotorua economy is best illustrated by Rotorua's great events month in February this year. Raggamuffin, Te Matatini, the Australasian ISPC Championships and the inaugural Rotorua Bike Festival, along with a host of smaller events, were major contributors to a 19.2% increase in visitor nights for that month.”

The Rotorua District Council’s Community and Major Events Manager, Martin Croft, says events are now an important business for every district in New Zealand, and it’s critical that Rotorua continues to place a strong focus on having the right support, facilities, infrastructure and people to keep and attract events.

“We have some distinct advantages over other regions and we have an events strategy in place to ensure that we are in the best possible position to support existing events, as well as attracting new ones, and this award is further reinforcement that we are on the right track,” says Mr Croft.

“Events aren’t successful without the input and effort of a large number of different groups – either directly or indirectly. In Rotorua, we have the privilege of having considerable support from our community, event organisers and local businesses and operators. This includes the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust who provide significant funding not just for events, but also for our events infrastructure, such as the Energy Events Centre. Quite simply, our city wouldn’t be in this strong position without all of these people and organisations.”

Rotorua’s Major Events Strategy (2012 to 2014) outlines four key priority areas for community and major events, including driving economic growth from events, enhancing Rotorua’s reputation as a world-class destination to live, work and invest, to increase community participation and involvement and to improve the city’s ability to support events. The plan also includes definitions and targets for key events.

ENDS

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