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The Waimakariri District was on show at New Zealand’s largest annual travel trade event - TRENZ – in Rotorua last month, attracting interest from travel buyers from around the world.
2019 was the first time that the district’s tourism organisation, Visit Waimakariri, had attended the event and District Promotions Coordinator Elizabeth Pitcorn says there was significant interest in the region.
“We had an incredibly positive experience attending TRENZ 2019,” she said. “We had a lot of interest from a range of travel agents and media who had previously not understood all of the experiences, accommodation and even the access that the Waimakariri District provides.
“We had more than 40 appointments across the week with a range of international travel agents and media from over 15 countries as far afield as Denmark, South America and Taiwan.”
Elizabeth, who attended with Gwen Creek, manager of the Kaiapoi i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, said they found that international visitors are looking for a more authentic travel experience than previous generations.
“International visitors are no longer looking for the standard New Zealand itinerary. They really want to experience small town New Zealand, they want to meet the locals, stay in B&Bs, experience a kiwi lifestyle and eat our food. They also want to spend more time here to see all of the smaller places that didn’t used to be advertised in standard New Zealand itineraries.
“The conversations we had were largely itinerary based, helping buyers to create new and different itinerary options. This included changing the direction their clients travel to incorporate the Inland Scenic Route and providing alternatives which help the agents have a point of difference amongst their competitors when it comes to offering previously unknown experiences in New Zealand.”
In 2020 TRENZ will be held in Christchurch for the first time in 14 years. Elizabeth says this will be an excellent opportunity to extend the work the Visit Waimakariri team put in at this year’s event.
“With TRENZ coming to Christchurch in 2020 we saw 2019 as a great opportunity to put Waimakariri on the map and in the minds of the TRENZ buyers. This way, when they attend next year and see the familiarisation opportunities and the individual tourism operators from the Waimakariri District attending, they will understand who they are, where they are based and want to experience our district.”
The Visit Waimakariri team are already planning their presence at the event next year and will be working with local tourism operators to help them be involved.
“We’ll be working with our Regional Tourism Organisation ChristchurchNZ to support their planning for TRENZ in Christchurch in 2020. This will include helping to organise familiarisations for the buyers so that they can come and experience the Waimakariri District first-hand. We’ll also be working with Waimakariri based tourism businesses to help them to become trade-ready so that they can be part of our presentations and possibly consider attending the show as a seller themselves.”
Each year TRENZ attracts 1500 delegates, including sellers, buyers, media, tourism industry leaders and top government representatives. The four-day event originated in the 1960s and has grown significantly since, to become the largest trade event of its kind in New Zealand. On average, every TRENZ buyer sends 4,000 visitors to New Zealand annually.
Information for local tourism operators thinking of attending TRENZ 2020 will be sent out by Visit Waimakariri closer to the time. If you have any questions about attending TRENZ, please contact the Visit Waimakariri team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.