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Polishing The Jewel In The Tourism Crown

Tourism businesses in Rotorua have created a joint initiative to attract domestic tourists to help combat the enormous impacts of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Mana Newton is Chief Executive of Tauhara North No.2 Trust Group which owns Tamaki Māori Village and says there is a real need to do something practical and pragmatic during a time of so much uncertainty.

“While international tourism has been stopped dead, domestic travel and tourism made up just over two thirds of the sector’s income and has also been severely impacted.

“New Zealanders are great travellers and we’ve developed a digital tourism hub to help people reconnect and rediscover Rotorua – if we can make it easy for people to find and book, more of them will come and explore tourism experiences in Rotorua.”

The tourism hub is being coordinated with NZ Māori Tourism and Chief Executive Pania Tyson-Nathan says the approach is designed for the travelling tribes of Aotearoa.

“New Zealanders would normally spend $6.5 billion a year travelling abroad and many are choosing to spend that money on things like home renovations or upgrading their cars – if we can get even half of that redirected to domestic travel, it will go a long way to ensuring our sector survives and is match fit when international borders reopen.

“Friends, Couples or Families are key domestic leisure markets and the digital hub has been designed to offers ideas and deals specific to each of those markets.

“Covid-19 has forced innovation, creativity, resourcefulness and kotahitanga – by working as a collective, these Rotorua businesses have been able to tautoko, brainstorm and create a new future of tourism in Rotorua.

“The tourism industry started in Rotorua in the 1800’s so its fitting this initiative starts here. We’re also looking at collaboration hubs for Hokianga, Abel Tasman, Hawkes Bay and Tairāwhiti.

“Ultimately, we are looking to link each of these regional clusters beneath a korowai of Māori tourism and an appropriate powerful narrative in due course,” says Ms Tyson-Nathan.

About the digital tourism hub

Tourism businesses in Rotorua have embraced kotahitanga, innovation and creativity in the Covid-19 world, coming together to support each other in identifying and attracting key domestic market segments: Leisure and Education.

Led by Tamaki Māori Village, and supported by NZ Māori Tourism, Explore Rotorua and Rotorua Education Resources are digital hubs developed during the Alert Level 4 lockdown and provide manuhiri - across the Leisure and Education markets - with a one-stop-shop to explore deals and suitability to their specific needs.

During a hui with Prime Minister Rt. Hon Jacinda Ardern and Ministers at Tamaki Māori Village on Monday (7 September 2020), tourism businesses shared their grass roots stories – how they’ve come together, pivoted their business, and kept whānau employed.

Explore Rotorua identifies key domestic leisure markets as friends, couples or families looking to get away and explore tourism experiences in Rotorua. The digital hub offers ideas and deals specific to each of those markets.

Rotorua Education Resources provides educational tours and resources to support the New Zealand education curriculum, including primary, secondary, and tertiary studies.

The educational market identifies tours relevant to geography, tourism and history, as a simple way for education providers to explore what is on offer that will provide experiences specific to their needs.

Tourism experiences are made up of Māori and non-Māori businesses, including Kaitiaki Adventures, Tamaki Māori Village, Mitai Māori Village, Rapids Jet, Zorb Rotorua, Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland, as well as Wingspan, Skyline Rotorua, Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, Redwoods Forest.

Accommodation deals are also listed, providing easy access for manuhiri exploring their options.

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