4th Annual Ruapehu Tourism Forum A Success
Visit Ruapehu held its 4th annual industry forum last Friday (6 November) at the Chateau Tongariro Hotel. Over 50 attendees consisting of local stakeholders, tourism operators as well as speakers from Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Explore Central North Island, Tourism NZ, MBIE and Ruapehu Alpine Lifts gathered together to reflect on the challenges and opportunities of 2020. Colleagues from Taupō and Waikato RTOs also joined in the conversation.
Thanks were given to previous Board members Peter Till, Carole Beggs and Simon Dickson as well as new board members Andrea Messenger, Nigel Douglas and Ah-Leen Rayner were introduced.
Jo Kennedy, General Manager Visit Ruapehu, was pleased with the number of operators present for the event, and very grateful for support from national industry leaders.
“I was so pleased with the turnout, and the engagement of everyone there. I am very proud to be a part of the Visit Ruapehu team, as we manoeuvre our way through this volatile environment that COVID has presented us...The $700,000 recently awarded to us through the STAPP fund from MBIE has enabled us to upweight and accelerate our efforts towards a resilient tourism business community, with our focus being on capability and sustainability for future generations.” she said.
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the upcoming summer season will be particularly tough with the loss of international visitors likely to impact everyone across the board.
Jo talked to the forum about collaborative efforts Visit Ruapehu has underway with domestic campaigns launching alongside Tourism NZ, AA and Air NZ over the coming months, including a local focus on the Do Something New NZ national initiative and promotions with neighbouring regions such as Taupō, Rotorua and Waikato.
“2020 has been a tough year, and we all need to work together no matter our business or background on getting through this together,” added Kennedy.
A newly formed organisation, Ruapehu Māori Tourism, was also in attendance. Chaired by Hone Smythe, local owner and operator of Horsemtrails, who addressed the forum, and shared the organisation’s vision of a coordinated approach, with different government agencies, industry and local government all working together for the best results.
Ruapehu Mayor Don Cameron said that the high level of support for the Forum demonstrates that it is now firmly established as an important feature on the Ruapehu tourism sector calendar.
“With the impact of COVID the opportunity to scrutinise the year, discuss current issues, opportunities and headwinds with other operators and key players this year's Forum was more important than ever. It was great to see that despite the challenges of the past year Ruapehu’s tourism operators are still looking to the future with confidence,” he said.