September 30, 2009

Kia Ora !*FIRSTNAME*!,

Forum answered questions – and posed challenges

A highly successful full day tourism industry forum was held last Thursday, Sept 24. It featured a Tourism Industry Association update, a run down on DRTM’s domestic and Australian activity from GM Don Gunn plus Tourism Board and Let’s Go Rotorua updates in the morning. The afternoon session was a comprehensive 3-hour update from Tourism New Zealand. Don Gunn’s Power Point presentation is available by clicking here while the TNZ presentations will be available at a later date so watch for link in the next newsletter.

DRTM team restructure

For those of you who missed last week’s forum, DRTM has completed a review of its existing structure to ensure that it is well positioned to face new challenges and trends in the competitive and fast-changing world of destination marketing. Greater emphasis on online and social media marketing has been acknowledged with the creation of the new role of Marketing Manager. In recognition of increased opportunities out of Australia with the commencement of Trans Tasman air services, the role of Conference and Incentive Manager has been created to focus on and build this important sector. Ruth Crampton, formerly Assistant General Manager has left DRTM to become a full time mother to 2-year-old Lucy. Communications Manager Jill Marshall, who has been with us for six and half years, will be leaving us on Oct 9 to pursue new interests (see Comings and Goings section). We will miss Ruth and Jill, and thank them for their dedication and passion that they bought to the DRTM team. 

Introducing new team members

DRTM’s newly appointed Marketing Manager, David Whorwood, is starting next Monday, Oct 5, while new Conference and Incentive Manager, Denise Siviter, will take up her newly created position two weeks later on Oct 19. From Auckland, David “loves Rotorua” and comes to the new role with a background in film, advertising and PR. He currently owns and operates Massive Films. Industry will know Denise has a strong C & I background from her Accor and MCK days. She is currently GM – Sales and Marketing for Lakeland Queen. 

‘Out of office’ on again

It has been a very busy few weeks for newly promoted International Sales Manager James Fitzgerald. Firstly it was KiwiLink India followed by the Backpacker Expo in Auckland, and currently he’s away doing sales calls in Tokyo and Osaka until Oct 4. Kiwi Link India, Sept 4-16, saw James visit Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai to meet with buyers and update them on Rotorua. “We had 26 appointments per day over each of six days so it was pretty intense,” said James. The TNZ organised event was attended by over 350 staff from more than 120 Indian travel companies engaged in selling and promoting travel to New Zealand. Kiran Nambiar, TNZ’s Regional Manager India and South East Asia, said the event works well for both Indian and New Zealand operators. He added that because KiwiLink India is only held every second year, the buyers look forward to the event and finding what’s new. Representing the Thermal Explorer Highway, James says Rotorua is definitely on the ‘must do’ list for Indian travellers. He adds Indian agents know their clients need to spend 2-3 days here and are looking for new and different Rotorua product as a way to personalise and customise their offering to their clients, who are often honeymooners or family groups.

What’s happening on C & I scene

GM Don Gunn will be representing DRTM at next week’s Conference and Incentive New Zealand (CINZ) conference in Blenheim, October 6-8.

Party time

Along with 14 local industry partners, DRTM is part of a backpacker industry function being held in Auckland next week, Oct 8. Some 200 members of Auckland backpacker industry have been invited to attend the inaugural ‘Rotorua More Than A One Night Stand’ party, learn about local product, and hopefully be influenced by the fun amateur video featuring two Pommie backpackers having a great time in Rotorua put together by James and friends last weekend. Two Rotorua famils will be held on subsequent weekends. Register to attend by visiting

Profile of site usage

The Aug/Sept 2009 period saw a healthy increase in the number of absolute unique visitors using the site - up 45.4% compared to the same period last year. Pageviews are also up slightly – a 6% increase compared to the same period last year. Compared to the July/Aug period, this month’s absolute unique visitors are up 8.6% while pageviews are up 3.8%. The site’s Alexa benchmarking ranking has climbed to second place behind Auckland and just in front of Wellington compared to all other RTO websites. In the ‘vacation destinations of a similar size’ benchmarking stakes, visits are 1054% ahead of the average while pageviews are 1710% ahead of the average. Interestingly Torpedo 7, a New Zealand mountain biking site DRTM has been running banner ads on, has proved to be a good source of visitors (almost 2200) in the past month although relatively small compared to Google referrals of 23,000.

Praise for trade area

Nice to receive this comment about the new trade section of from Deneilia Pereira who works for Emirates. “Excellent information, surely want to visit your amazing country and experience all what I have read. My personal favourites - adventure, family fun, wellness, Maori culture and luxury".

Link to Aussie fare-finder

DRTM’s main website,, has yet another new addition this week – an option to use a fare-finder button so browsers can source a direct Sydney to Rotorua airfare. Air New Zealand provided DRTM with the info and it was loaded to the site yesterday. Click here to check it out. NB The flights on the A320 aircraft don’t start till Dec 12 and will initially only operate as a Saturday-Monday service, becoming a Saturday-Tuesday service from February 2010. Local operators can keep up with the play by going to the above page and downloading a button (and some simple code) to put on their own websites to give their customers access to the fare-finder.

Surveying benefits of Twitter

A Travel Insights 100 survey has revealed how key travel industry experts feel about and utilise Twitter. Travel Insights 100 is an ongoing platform for 100 leaders within the travel industry to discuss ideas and worldwide travel issues all via an internet-based forum. The first survey asked for predictions, recommendations and thoughts on the effectiveness of The popularity of Twitter in the travel industry is unquestionable; however, this is a recent phenomenon, with the majority of respondents (52%) saying they had just jumped on this particular social media bandwagon in the past year. The survey found a nearly equal split between Twitter addicts (31%) using Twitter 10 or more times a day and those using Twitter less than four times a day (33%). The vast majority of respondents (91%) said they would recommend using Twitter to find travel information such as deals and tips. The pet peeves to come out in the survey included tweets that are too promotional, too mundane or too corporate. Participants were also asked to give predictions for the future of Twitter with responses ranging from “rocky road ahead”, to suggesting micro blogging is the future of communications, to forecasting a takeover of Twitter by marketers and a migration away from it to the next big thing in social media.
Make sure you are following Destination Rotorua on Twitter,

Social media - the why and how 

Last Friday’s T-Mail from the Tourism Industry Association featured a link to an interesting slideshow we think is worth sharing. Marta Kagan’s ‘What is Social Media One Year Later’ slideshow is funny and informative. Managing Director for US marketing agency Expresso, Marta tells you why you should care about social marketing, why you should get serious about it, why it’s not just another marketing channel and how not to mess it up. Her key rules? Listen, Engage and Measure. Some facts from her slideshow that should make you realise why you need to engage in some form of social media interaction: On average there are three million tweets going out everyday via, some 100 million videos are viewed via You Tube each day and 3.6 billion photos have been archived on as at June 2009.

NZ Tourism Industry Monitor - Sept 2009

For the three months to the end of August, tourism demand was down 1.4% (seasonally adjusted) and profitability was down 2.4%. For the three months commencing September, tourism demand is expected to be down 0.4% (seasonally adjusted) and profitability down by 1.3%. There is a regional variation in business confidence with the central North Island and upper/lower South Island tourism operators expressing a neutral/mildly positive outlook. By contrast the upper/lower North Island and Canterbury tourism operators typically had a neutral/mildly negative outlook.  Click here to view the full Tourism Industry Monitor results. Remember the ongoing success of the NZ Tourism Industry Monitor is dependent on the willingness of tourism operators to complete the monthly survey. Click here to complete the survey.

Uncle Howie - a great loss

Tributes flowed last week following the passing of one of Rotorua’s favourite son’s, Sir Howard Morrison. He died at home last Thursday (September 24). Sir Howard’s tangi and funeral was held at Papaiouru Marae Ohinemutu, and he was buried at Rotorua’s Kauae Cemetery yesterday afternoon, Sept 29. Many thousands of people paid tribute to the 74-year-old who was best known as an entertainer of iconic standing but also played major roles in educating and developing the talents of Maori youth, championing health issues, fundraising on his famous Ride for Life (in aid of the Life Education Trust), and an active promoter of Māori culture both in New Zealand and offshore. The past four days have seen the most remarkable turnout to his tangi with many thousands paying their respects. The visitors read like a who’s who of New Zealand – from royalty, ministers and politicians including the Maori King Tuheitia Paki, Bill English, Winston Peters, Tariana Turia, Dr Pita Sharples and Koro Wetere to activist Tame Iti to fellow entertainers Carl Doy, Wi Wharekura, Ray Columbus, Frankie Stevens, John Rowles, Dame Malvina Major, Tina Cross, Jackie Clarke, Suzanne Lynch, Ray Wolfe, Mike King, Tony Williams, Ardijah and Russell Harrison. TNZ Chief Executive George Hickton said, tourism has lost a great ambassador with the death of Sir Howard Morrison. “Sir Howard’s fine voice helped to realise awareness of Māori culture, which is so closely aligned with New Zealand’s identity and such an integral part of the tourism industry. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Sir Howard travelled extensively promoting New Zealand. As well as trips to Australia, he travelled across North America to promote New Zealand as part of the Tourism Board’s ‘Come to New Zealand’ and ‘Discover New Zealand’ campaigns. He was also instrumental in creating the first manaakitanga programmes within the tourism board and in promoting the Māori value of hosting visitors to the wider tourism industry, whether from New Zealand or overseas. Today, manaakitanga is a core part of the New Zealand tourism industry’s thinking and a major part of what sets our country apart from other destinations,” said George.

Rotorua scores another world champs

Rotorua will host another major mountain bike event in 2010 thanks to a dedicated bunch of New Zealand single speed biking enthusiasts. Rotorua Single Speed Society (RSSS) member Graeme Simpson said, following a tense, if somewhat and unconventional, bidding process (that included karaoke and basketball competitions) at this year’s champs in Durango, Colorado, the small Kiwi team emerged successful. RSSS president Gary Sullivan said, many mountain bikers are tuning into the simplicity of one-cog. “The bikes are uncomplicated and a great way to build strength and skill.” He adds Rotorua has a well-deserved reputation for putting on relaxed and friendly events. “The Society ran the 2008 and 2009 National Singlespeed Champs and they were great events, with some very serious competition at the sharp end and some hilarious antics everywhere else.” Although there isn’t much that is serious about singlespeed racing, the competition is always fierce to be first over the line in men’s and women’s categories - for the glory and the winner’s tattoos. The eccentric world of the singlespeed will descend on Rotorua in full force late October next year. Media inquires to .

Whaka 100 – NZ’s toughest MTB race?

New Zealand’s toughest mountain bike race in New Zealand is the Whaka 100 in Rotorua. That’s according to Dean Watson of Nduro Events. He reckons there are longer off-road races, and plenty claim to be the best and the hardest. “However, most of them have a big forest road component, while this one is a metric century, mainly on demanding and technical single-track trails with thousands of metres of climbing.” It’s those trails that have made Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest well known round the world. Dean reckons thousands of riders enjoy them every year; they just stitch most of them together in a single day. Course director Marcus Diprose says, “It’s a very special event which is why we get lots of riders from around New Zealand and from Australia making the trip.” For the fastest female and male riders there is an added challenge – if the winners break course records, there’s a cash bonus. Also at stake is a prize that is unique in New Zealand and is part of a world-wide series. Up for grabs is major US bike manufacturer, GT Golden Bike. “Whaka 100 is the ultimate challenge, so it’s great we’ve got the ultimate blinged out prize,” says Marcus. “It’s for riders who aren’t funded by a team or a manufacturer – the real weekend warriors.” The winner will be drawn from all the category winners who qualify. The October 3 event also offers 50km and 25km options and a 60/40km 2-person team relay.

New spring look

According the latest Wai Ora Group spring newsletter, Hells Gate and Wai Ora Spa is undergoing a spring make-over to freshen up the exterior and give the operation a facelift ahead of the high season. Expect to see new art, photographs and a revamped spa area coming this summer. The park itself will also have new safety fences installed. CEO Bryan Hughes has also been working on developing the guided walk experience into a more interactive and informative experience. Guides are being encouraged to add their own personalities and stories to the tour, giving guests a more individual experience.

Bold foodie an inspiring woman

Fancy an evening with Peta Mathias? The buy a ticket to next month’s (October 31) 2009 Women’s Achievement Awards dinner being held at the Blue Baths from 6.30pm. The Zonta Club of Rotorua annually celebrates four fabulous women in the local community. This year’s recipients are Noeline Taurua, coach of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic netball team, well known florist Pam Jenkins, the late Sir Howard Morrison’s daughter Donna Grant and speech and drama teacher Gabrielle Thurston. Tickets, $65, from McLeods Booksellers, The Styx, Finns Fashions, Galaxy United Travel and Palmers Garden.

Wood wows them 

Media from all over the world travelled to New Zealand to cover this year’s Montana World of Wearable Art Awards Show (WOW) held in Wellington last week. TNZ’s international media team worked with journalists from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US, India, Australia and Thailand, who were brought to New Zealand to see the show, conduct interviews and be hosted on visits to see other parts of the country; all aimed at promoting New Zealand as a visitor destination. One of Asia’s top entertainers, Tsai Kang Yung, was an international guest judge for this year’s awards. Taiwan’s top television presenter, Mr Tsai’s TV shows and blogs are seen by millions of people in Mainland China and Taiwan each week. TNZ Chief Executive George Hickton said by hosting Tsai Kang Yung TNZ was helping to promote New Zealand as a tourism destination. As a sponsor of WOW since 2001, TNZ has helped build the profile of this premier art event internationally by hosting high-profile designers, students and media from key visitor markets. This year’s winner was an Alaskan carpenter and artist who fashioned his winning dress entirely of wood. David Walker’s ‘Lady of the Wood’ is based on a 17th-century ball gown and is made entirely out of mahogany, lacewood, maple and cedar. Wouldn’t it be great to see it on display at next year’s National Woodskills Festival at Kawerau?

More wooden art

Paradise Valley Springs has turned tree stumps into art. Owner Stuart Hamlett says they had some old exotic trees that were past their ‘use by’ date and needed to be removed. However they saved the stumps which were then carved into trout, tuatara, kiwi, pigeon, tui, fantail, morepork, opossum, frog and lion shapes. “They look fantastic and are a continuation of our current development plan,” says Stuart.

Appealing to the backpacker market

Tourism New Zealand is targeting the youth and backpacker market with a new campaign urging them to “Go All The Way” . . . to New Zealand. The campaign was launched at New Zealand’s first-ever Backpacker Industry Conference held in Auckland, September 17/18. TNZ Chief Executive George Hickton said younger travellers and backpackers had continued to travel during the economic downturn, showing their resilience as a sector. This campaign was to ensure that New Zealand was on the list of places they wanted to visit. “Many backpackers from the UK and Europe go as far as Australia in their gap-year, but we want to challenge them to complete the journey and ‘Go All The Way’ by coming down to New Zealand,” said George. According to the International Visitor Survey, New Zealand welcomed 183,100 backpackers (defined as spending more than 30% of their stay in backpacker accommodation) in the year to June 2009. This is an increase of 4%, compared to an overall decline of 2.8% in all in the year to July. TNZ worked with backpacker industry organisation, and Youth Hostels Association to research the youth and backpacker market and to devise the new campaign. The focus for the new campaign will be the Northern Hemisphere markets, including the UK and Europe, ahead of the busy summer peak travel months. George said though some saw backpackers as low spenders, they stay longer than the average, which means their overall spend is higher. The new campaign will run predominantly online, kicked off with a partnership with social networking website Bebo. DRTM’s International Sales Manager James Fitzgerald attended the backpacker conference and said the key things to come out of it were the need to understand and be part of the social and online media phenomenon. 

Go to the ball

The Wai Ora Group is hosting a charity ball in aid of the Waiariki Women’s Refuge, so why not make up a party and support a worthy cause while having some fun? Being held at Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort on Saturday, November 7, the theme of the ball will be Casino Royale. Candy Hughes, Sales and Marketing Executive for the Wai Ora Group, says there will be a great band, great food and great prizes to be auctioned off to raise money for this worthy cause. Limited tickets, $150 per person, are available from Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort or phone 343 5100. Sponsors so far include Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort, Hells Gate, Tamaki Heritage Experiences, Nzone, Go360 gym and Cappella Personal Training Studio and Spa. Candy says more sponsors are welcome, although they would need to email her () by this Friday, Oct 2, if interested in helping.

New opportunities for serious outdoor experience

The newly opened Moerangi Track in Whirinaki Forest Park has come in for some praise from one who should know. Kawerau-based adventure tourism operator, trail runner and organiser of the Tarawera Ultra Marathon Paul Charteris had this to say: “There are a few times in trail running that you discover a trail so beautiful, smooth and perfect for running that it simply takes your breath away. The new Moerangi Track would have to be one of the best one-day trail runs in New Zealand, if not the world.” The opening of the upgraded Moerangi Saddle section of the Whirianki Track was marked by the Department of Conservation on September 5 as part of the 25 anniversary celebrations of forest park status. The track covers 35km and climbs 640m if ridden from one end or 840m from the River Road end. Paul added it’s a trail run he would recommend to all Kiwis and to trail runners from all over the world. “After a short, slippery uphill start, the entire 35km of track was amazing, gentle gradients, no steep ups, downs, rocks or roots. It is very mountain biker and runner friendly. The beauty of this trail is not in its grand views but in the rich forest all around.” Click here to read Paul’s full account.

Key facts on Letterman

Americans now have a few more reasons to visit New Zealand thanks to John Key and David Letterman. The Prime Minister appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman last Friday night, in what has been described as a coup for TNZ’s international media programme. The PM appeared quite relaxed as he offered to do airport pickups (if US folk booked and visited NZ in the next 30 days); joked NZ was “a convenient 20-hour flight away” and that “Unlike most of the world, we still like Americans”. They were among the 10 reasons written for the PM to read out on air. Prior to having him read the list, David Letterman quizzed the Prime Minister on New Zealand’s location, asking him where New Zealand was and how many years it had taken him to fly up to New York. Joking aside, Letterman described New Zealand as “a wonderland” and highlighted the fact that the country had been named among the top destinations by Condé Nast Traveller for the past six years.

Creating an organic garden

Hamurana Lodge is responding to clientele requests for a “better living, better feeling” experience and planting their own organic vegetable and herb garden. The entire lodge team (along with green assistants)  will be in the garden all day tomorrow, Thursday, October 1, planting a variety of vegetables and herbs in new 150 sq m plot they have dedicated to the project. Hamurana Lodge is launching Le Manoir Restaurant on October 8. Their new European chef, Neil Slater, is looking forward to the creation of the chef’s garden and being able to utilise the resultant produce into fresh and innovative cuisine.

Most beautiful city

Rotorua has been judged New Zealand's most beautiful city for the fifth time in the past 10 years. Rotorua District Council’s Keep Rotorua Beautiful Co-ordinator Christine Findon accepted the national Beautiful City Award at the annual Keep New Zealand Beautiful conference in Rotorua last Saturday (Sept 26). The award is for a city with a population greater than 20,000 with Rotorua up against the likes of Christchurch and Napier. Mayor Kevin Winters says winning the award five times in the past decade proves what locals already knew - that Rotorua has a stunningly beautiful environment. “Four previous wins was already an outstanding achievement, but taking out the award a record fifth time is incredible news for the city. I’m rapt that the beauty of our environment and the hard work of so many people has been recognised in this way.” Christine attributed Rotorua’s success to many community volunteers and the hard-working team at Rotorua District Council that gets behind keeping the city beautiful. “All the people who helped with litter pick ups, others who helped out with graffiti eradication, and numerous groups from school children through to retirees through to service groups share this award with us. Well done Rotorua.”

APT loves them

Rotorua’s Heritage Hotel is among this year’s recipients of the annual Australian Pacific Tours (APT) operator awards. Having surveyed its passengers, tour managers, drivers and key company staff and management, APT announced its winners for this year with Heritage Hotel Rotorua being voted the winner in the hotel ‘Premier Series’ category. Heritage Hotel Rotorua GM Marcus Keenan said it was great to receive news of the award last Friday, and for his team to be recognised in this way. He said, “It is proof we are delivering on our promise of a great experience.”  Other hotel winners were Intercontinental Wellington (Premier Plus series) and Lake Ohau Lodge (Affordable Series). Guided Nature Walks in Queenstown won the top product award.

Attained Silver Enviro logo

The Birchwood Spa Motel underwent a Qualmark Green assessment earlier this year to gain a silver Enviro logo. Birchwood Spa operators Jill and Steve Parker say they are “. . . proud to be making a difference”.  The couple say Birchwood Spa has been Qualmarked as a four star motel since it was built in 1995 and report that in this year’s annual assessment the motel was just .2% off gaining a four star plus category (76%). “We are thrilled to see that year-on-year we have been continually improving our business.”

Keeping it green

Congratulations to the Novotel Rotorua Lakeside for achieving Green Globe Certification along with all other Novotel hotels in the Accor group. And well done also to the hotel’s Maintenance Manager, Norman Turner, who managed the process to its successful conclusion. Accor’s Novotel brand is the first hotel brand in New Zealand to gain Green Globe certification. All Novotel Hotels were assessed according to eight performance criteria that will guarantee recycling and better waste management, reduction of greenhouse gases emissions, less pollution and energy and water consumption control.

New Zealand among the best destinations

For the sixth year in a row, New Zealand has been ranked in the top five best destinations in the world by readers of the prestigious Condé Nast Traveller magazine. The awards were announced in the UK on September 2. New Zealand was placed second after Italy as ‘Best Destination’. Turkey was third and Australia was fourth. Italy scored well on the quality of its food and restaurants, culture and climate. TNZ Chief Executive George Hickton said it was a great result for New Zealand given that British travellers had been hard hit by the economic downturn and were looking to holiday closer to home. “The UK is probably one of the toughest markets in the world to get noticed in. Travellers have access to the lowest airfares in the world, which means they have a huge amount of choice. “For UK holidaymakers to recognise New Zealand as their favourite long-haul country is a huge achievement in this competitive marketplace and one which the New Zealand industry should be most proud of,” George said. Air New Zealand took second-place in the long-haul airlines category.

Another honour

Exciting times for 14-year-old Matthew Tew of Rotorua, who is one of four BMX riders chosen to be part of a national senior test team. Following trials in Cambridge last Sunday, Matthew (No.2 in his age group in New Zealand) was one of four picked to race against an Australian senior test team in Cambridge over Labour Weekend. Son of Carol and Ian Tew of Off Road NZ, the teenager has only been riding for four years, getting involved in the sport when the new Rotorua BMX track opened. Proud Dad Ian says Matthew will now get extra coaching in the lead up to the test. Along with younger brother Gregory, Matthew was part of a national team who completed at the UCI BMX World Championships in Adelaide in July.  

Te Puia warrior wins Craig gold

Rotorua commercial photographer Craig Robertson won a gold award at last month’s Epson/NZIPP Iris Awards in Wellington. Craig’s photograph of a Maori warrior at Te Puia that won him gold was awarded in the People Category of the annual competition also earned him the distinction of Master Photographer. It was one of only 17 gold medals to be awarded among the more than 1200 submissions entered across eight categories. Craig says he was absolutely stunned to win a gold award for the image. “I knew it had potential for a silver award but gold is nearly impossible to achieve. I was chasing credits for my Master Photographer distinction this year and to get there with gold is simply amazing.” Craig also won a silver award in the commercial category and a bronze in landscape section. The Epson/Iris Awards were judged and announced at the annual New Zealand Institute of Professional Photographers (NZIPP) Infocus conference which was held in Wellington at the end of August. Peter Eastway, a professional photographer from Sydney, who judged at the awards, said New Zealand photographers’ imagery was world-class. “I judge internationally and the one thing I tell other people is if they want an award, don’t enter in New Zealand. The judging is tough - really tough, so the images that win are truly outstanding.” To add to an exciting week, Craig was also elected to the role of National President of the NZIPP. Go to to see the winning images.

Sailing into summer

Kawarau Jet is about to branch out - or to be more accurate take to the air this summer. The company have secured a variation to run parasailing rides from their base at the Rotorua Lakefront. Operators Ross and Fiona Kelly tell us they have done the research, have purchased a boat and are hopeful of launching this new addition to their operation at the end of November. A small amount of refurbishing work on the purpose–built parasail boat they imported from Airlie Beach, Australia, is almost complete and training runs are expected to begin any day now. While the couple expect most riders will opt to have a 10-minute ride from the lakefront, they hope to capitalise on opportunities to work in with other operators on other lakes for group booking. They also see the new product as a winner in the conference market as well. Fiona says they’ll be working closely with the Rotorua Airport control tower and other lakefront operators to ensure it’s a smooth transition.

The ultimate adventure treat

Skyline Skyrides launched a new tourism product, Rotorua’s Ultimate Ride, on September 1. Targeting FIT visitors, the new product is sold as a full day pass including one gondola ride, one helicopter flight (approx. eight minute duration), one Skyswing ride, unlimited luge rides on the day and one buffet lunch at Skyline’s Cableway Restaurant. Valued at more than $300 retail value, the package is being launched at $249 per person. Skyline Skyrides General Manager Neville Nicholson said “We saw a gap in the market for a full day pass to all that Skyline Skyrides has to offer visitors and Rotorua’s Ultimate Ride is the product to fill this gap. We think international and domestic visitors alike will take advantage of the superb value in the package and we expect to see this package go very well in the coming season and beyond.” Customers are initially able to purchase the pass from various outlets including Rotorua i-SITE, several accommodation providers, and Skyline Skyrides. Inbound operators will be able to on-sell the package in the coming season. Neville added that with growth coming out of Australia in the coming years, the Trans Tasman air link going live in December, and both backpacker numbers and the luxury end of the market holding up quite well during a tough winter “. . . we think now is a good time to launch a new ‘value added’ product like Rotorua’s Ultimate Ride.”

New man an outdoors fan

Kevin Bowler has been appointed as the new CEO of Tourism New Zealand ahead of 158 other applicants. Currently CEO for start-up Yahoo!Xtra a joint venture between Telecom and Yahoo, Kevin has extensive marketing and business leadership experience spanning fast moving consumer goods, technology and media brands in New Zealand and overseas. He will take his new role in early January. According to Inside Tourism (Sept 25), Kevin is a family-oriented outdoors fanatic who enjoys boating, skiing and cycling.

Au revoir from Jill

As this is my last newsletter prior to my departure from DRTM next week, I just wanted to say it’s been great working with you all for the past six and half years. Over this time I believe we have achieved some significant milestones for DRTM and local industry via several major revamps of, the creation of six foreign language websites, a new promotional DVD, six foreign language DVDs, the fantastic array of new destinational imagery and upgrades to the way we deliver In Essence, e-newsletters and news on the website. I hope you will keep in touch (contact phones 347 6426, 027 361 0639 or email and look forward to being able to assist some of you with upcoming projects you may have. It’s early days yet but the plan is to start my own business helping with things like text for websites and brochures, media releases, producing newsletters, proofing assistance and photography advice.

Promotion for Martin

Martin Croft has been appointed as the new Events Manager at Events and Venues Rotorua. He was previously Event Co-ordinator with Events and Venues and he replaces Emily Pritchard, who left to return to Canada. Events and Venues General Manager Peter McLeod said Martin had done an outstanding job in successfully attracting a number of events to Rotorua in recent years.

YHA Rotorua bags it

Earlier this month YHA Rotorua Treks Backpackers supported Clean Up New Zealand Week thus contributing to its Rotorua Sustainable Tourism Charter obligation of providing community support.  On September 8, a group of YHA Rotorua staff, together with friends and family, spent a couple of hours collecting litter from Kuirau Park including five bags of rubbish and three bags of recyclables. It is the simple steps like YHA Rotorua has taken in cleaning up their neighbouring park that collectively contribute towards a sustainable visitor destination. To learn more about how the Rotorua Sustainable Tourism Charter can help your business take the first steps in sustainability contact Gina George via email or phone 349 7289.

September saw May return to region

Trish May of May Communications and Marketing, has been appointed to re-develop the Visit Ruapehu’s website and drive the regional tourism organisation’s new marketing strategy. Now based in Christchurch, Trish has a long association with Rotorua including more than seven years at Tourism Rotorua (now Destination Rotorua Marketing). She was also Marketing Manager at Rainbow Springs and Farm Show.

Rotorua boy makes good

Remember Len Morgan? Born and educated in Rotorua, Les was Food and Beverage Manager for Accor properties in Rotorua, Queenstown and Auckland before going on to manage the Duxton Hotel in Auckland. He has recently been appointed to a GM role at the Scenic Circle Auckland (formerly the Scenic Circle Airedale). 

BOP Steamers vs Hawkes Bay

Friday October 2, 2009
The Steamers are the flagship team of the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union. A win is crucial for Bay of Plenty Steamers following their 26-17 loss to Otago in Dunedin last Saturday, which saw them slip to 4th place in the Air New Zealand Cup standings with just four matches to play.

Whaka 100 Mountain Bike Marathon

Saturday October 3, 2009
The Whaka 100 Mountain Bike Marathon is New Zealand’s toughest off road mountain bike event. More than two-thirds of 100km race will be on single track in Whakarewarewa Forest. 25km and 50km course options also available. Start/finish at the Waipa Mill Road MTB car park.

K•Swiss Rotorua Ekiden

Saturday October 10, 2009
The Rotorua Ekiden Relay will be run around the road encircling beautiful Lake Rotorua. An internationally recognised event, the Ekiden relay is run over the marathon distance of 42.2km and consists of teams of six competitors who wear a traditional Japanese tasuki sash instead of carrying a baton.

The Great Boar Hunt

Sunday October 11, 2009
The Great Boar Hunt is one of New Zealand's largest wild boar hunts. Come on down to the Village Green between noon and 6pm to see the big wild boar brought in by the hunters. Free entertainment includes chainsaw carving, axmen events, music and children’s entertainment including a free possum hunt.

NZ Kiwis vs Tonga - Rugby League Test

Wednesday October 14, 2009
See the reigning world champion Kiwis in action against Tonga in an International Rugby League Federation sanctioned match. Both countries will be bringing their top line-up, including professional players from the NRL and Super League championships. Kick off 7.30pm.

2009 Australasian Firefighter Championships

Friday October 16, 2009 - Sunday October 18, 2009
Rotorua has been chosen to host the Australasian Firefighter Championships that are being held in New Zealand for the first time. More than 300 firefighters representing five Australian states as well as teams from New Zealand teams will undertake the a number of competitions based at the  Village Green from 10am.

NZ Senior Motocross Nationals

Sunday October 18, 2009
The Rotorua Motorcycle Club is hosting the 2nd Round of the 2009 NZ Senior Motocross Championship at their Horohoro track off SH30. Top riders from all over NZ will compete in MX1, MX2 and 125cc classes. Action starts at 9am.

For more information on these and other events, go to

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Jill Marshall
Communications Manager
Destination Rotorua Marketing
Private Bag 3007, Rotorua
Phone +64 7 349 7285
Fax +64 7 349 4133