Sourced from the Ruapehu District Council

Over 50 operators and other stakeholders involved in Ruapehu tourism attended the third annual Visit Ruapehu Industry Forum at the Chateau Tongariro on Wednesday (4 Dec 19).

The Industry Forum has established itself as an important feature on the Ruapehu tourism sector calendar providing the opportunity to scrutinise the year, discuss current issues, opportunities and headwinds and hear directly from other operators, Council, MBIE and Visit Ruapehu itself.

Mayor Don Cameron said it was great to see such an excellent turnout for a third year in a row which highlighted the growing strength of Ruapehu’s visitor sector and the continuing great work that Visit Ruapehu was doing.

“Despite a challenging winter due to bad weather limiting skiing days local tourism operators were quite rightly full of confidence for the future,” he said.

“This has been another massive year for Ruapehu tourism with a number of notable achievements including; Visit Ruapehu winning the Regional Tourism NZ Supreme Award, the opening of the Sky Waka gondola at Whakapapa, the building of the Park and Ride transport hub in National Park Village and MBIE funding Council to implement the Ruapehu Regional Visitor Development Plan.

On top of this local operators Forgotten World Adventures and Top 10 Holiday Park Ohakune won national awards and the Ohakune Carrot Adventure Park took out two national awards this year.

Although the Sky Waka gondola isn’t immune from some of the more extreme weather we can get on Mt Ruapehu it has clearly demonstrated that it is delivering on its promises.” Mayor Cameron noted that there is no doubt that the Sky Waka is significant not only for RAL but to many other operators and businesses who are benefiting from the growth of new visitors it is bringing in to the region.

What we would like to see now is this helping to support the growth of new tourism products and attractions,” he said.

Mayor Cameron added that this year’s Forum was the first for Visit Ruapehu under its new structure as a limited liability company.

“The evolution of Visit Ruapehu from a purely district focused organisation to one that is now playing a leading role in the development of regional tourism working directly with government, regional, national and international tourism partners meant the old Trust structure was no longer fit for purpose,” he said.

While the limited liability structure has necessary and important operational benefits it also helping to attract a deeper pool of potential Directors from a wider range of the visitor and tourism sector.

As a small Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) with a small, limited budget attracting the best people with the skills, experience, talent and importantly relationships to serve as Directors is critical to Visit Ruapehu’s on-going success.

An excellent example of this is the appointment of Ah-Leen Rayner, Executive General Manager Tourism & Marketing at KiwiRail to the Visit Ruapehu Board.

We are very excited that Ms Rayner has chosen to join the Visit Ruapehu Board and believe the experience and relationships she will bring to the role will make an invaluable contribution,” said Mayor Cameron.

Ms Rayner said that Visit Ruapehu’s strategic, collaborative approach with a focus on ensuring growth is productive, sustainable and inclusive and contributes toward improving the well-being of all New Zealanders is something she is excited to be part of.

“I am looking forward to making a positive contribution to Visit Ruapehu’s journey and helping to continue the forward momentum of tourism within the region,” she said.


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