October 27, 2011

Kia Ora !*FIRSTNAME*!,

As a commitment from the Tourism Committee to improve communications with the industry please find below an overview of the Tourism Committee meeting held on Friday in Rotorua at which the following issues were discussed:

  1. The Tourism Committee received a report on the activities and plans of Destination Rotorua Marketing , headed by acting General Manager Tania Bui. DRM were commended for publishing an " events calendar " showing all activities currently planned through the balance of 2011 and most of 2012 and were urged to look any " holes " in the calendar where advertising or an event could be planned that would bring people into Rotorua.  We were also pleased to note a series of appointments, especially in key areas such as Communications and the Asian/ Chinese markets which almost brings DRM to full strength. Tania was also commended for getting excellent publicity on food and wine offerings through leveraging key visitors who have come to Rotorua on famils which were very well organised. Appearances on television would have helped as well as have several functions at No 1 Queen Street where it as noted that , among other gains, a large group of French visitors to the Museum had only learned of it at the Queen Street location.. The Tourism Committee reasserted its requirement for focus on the key Auckland and Waikato markets , New South Wales , especially Sydney , and Asia with concentration on China. We also need to see plans developed that appeal to cyclists of all descriptions and to those interested in health and well being.

    Rotorua appears to be ' holding its own ' at present in very difficult trading conditions which have been materially affected by the World Cup where it was noted that Rotorua had excelled in local organisation of the locally based RWC events. Most large markets such as USA and Europe remain very quiet hence the concentration of efforts and activity elsewhere as noted above. Members of the Committee have also been engaged in wide ranging discussions with inbound tour operators and airlines to see what what can be planned to alleviate issues caused by the world slowdown as well as the Christchurch earthquake.

  2. In meetings with representatives of the industry , they expressed a strong desire to have a wider participation in a number of areas , particularly the selection of future Tourism Committee members ( currently 2 vacancies ) and the General Manager of DRM. We agreed that such input would be valuable and recommended to RDC that 2 nominees of the industry join the GM and 2 nominees join the committee selection panels. RDC has devised an independent election process to determine the nominees.

    The Chairman urged anyone interested in helping with the governance and strategy of developing Rotorua to put their names forward to Peter Guerin @ RDC immediately. A job description is available and the Chairman would be delighted to talk personally to anyone interested . We have set a goal of adding 2 members by the 24th of December. 

    The Tourism Committee noted that Elizabeth Valentine is currently going through the application process to study for a Doctor of Business Studies at a Queensland University and if successful will commence study on the Gold Coast in Australia commencing in February . Elizabeth wishes to stay on the Committee until mid 2012 when the Tourism Committee mandate is up for review and is willing to forgo her fee to make any such contribution cost neutral to Rotorua. The Committee voted, with Elizabeth not present, to recommend to RDC that this offer be accepted as she has provided excellent advice and guidance to the Committee. 

    The Chairman also wanted it recorded that owing to commitments in Europe, he will be out of the country during the entire selection process for the GM of DRM. Accordingly, it was decided that another member of the Committee join the selection panel and offers are being solicited. 

  3. Again, in meetings with representatives of the industry , the question of the independence of the Chairman has been raised . RDC has stated that in their selection of the Chairman they knew of , and accepted , that the Chairman had a Board role with Ngai Tahu Tourism , owners of Rainbow Springs, but did not see this as affecting his role as long as any conflicts of interest were appropriately managed. RDC believes this to be the case today and are confident that the situation is unchanged with Ngai Tahu having bought a significant stake in the Agrodome and Lakeland Queen . The Chairman has written an open letter to the industry on the issue which is available through Peter Guerin . He has also sought , and received, a unanimous  vote of confidence from his Tourism Committee members who discussed the position in his absence.

  4. Finally , the industry expressed some concern over the Tourism Committee lacking direct contact with key industry players having elected not to pursue the idea of a Rotorua Strategic Visitor Group  ( RSVG ) originally proposed in the McIntyre report At our first workshop, the idea was not supported by many players and perceived as adding bureaucracy. However, both the Committee and the industry representatives have agreed that everyone would benefit from direct input into strategies and activities and feedback and therefore many ideas such as an RVSG , an IAC ( Industry Advisory Committee ) or portfolio groups are being considered. Elizabeth Valentine who has substantive experience in this area has been charged with reporting back to the Committee how any such arrangement could work by the next meeting.

  5. The Tourism Committee noted that most of the attendees at the recent forum stayed afterwards and that we could use future sessions of the Committee to invite members of the industry to join us for refreshments . We will advise the industry in good time to allow planning for attendance and will publish our 2012 meeting dates . Our next meeting is November 24th. 




Tony Marks
Rotorua Tourism Committee

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Tony Marks - Chairman
Rotorua Tourism Committee