Rotorua is looking to inspire and captivate the hearts and souls of more than 70 Australian Travel Writers next week by showcasing many unique experiences the city has to offer.
The writers are in Rotorua for the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) Annual General Meeting and conference on 28th and 29th October.
It is a major success for Rotorua to host ASTW as the first New Zealand city to do so in seven years with a joint venture between Destination Rotorua Marketing (DRM) and Tourism New Zealand with support from Air New Zealand making it possible.
The ASTW is a non-profit organisation, dedicated to reporting on the travel industry and serving the interests of the travelling public. Now in its 30th year, the ASTW has more than 300 members: professional travel writers, photographers and broadcasters and those involved in public relations within the travel industry.
DRM conference and incentive manager Denise Siviter says Australia is Rotorua’s largest inbound market and the conference is an opportunity to achieve considerable leverage.
“Hosting the event is guaranteed to increase Rotorua’s profile as a destination where Australians can have unique experiences without having to travel too far – especially with direct flights from Sydney to Rotorua International Airport,” she says.
The Society’s 2009 conference in Thailand resulted in more than 50 travel articles published and ASTW president Bev Malzard says she is excited to participate in a diverse range of familiarisations and to support New Zealand, with the Society doing its best to drive tourists to the country.
On Friday the writers will experience what the city has to offer choosing one of six different familiarisation options; Interest Me (family and leisure), Excite Me (family and adventure focus), Amaze Me (soft adventure), Thrill Me (action and adventure), Free Me (nature and relax) and Sustain Me (eco-tourism and sustainability).
The writers will also feel the awe of the spine tingling challenge of Maori Warriors with a traditional powhiri at Te Puia for the Welcome function, followed by the chance to explore the heart of Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve under the stars with the Pohutu geyser as a spectacular backdrop.
The ASTW Awards Gala Night is being held at the famous Spanish Mission Style Blue Baths built in 1933 and set in the tranquil beauty of the Government Gardens.
The travel writers are staying in seven host hotels for three nights; the Novotel, Princes Gate, Sudima, Millennium, Rydges, Distinction and the Holiday Inn.
Rotorua District Council group manager economic and regulatory services Mark Rawson says Rotorua has a 21% market share of Australian arrivals to New Zealand with around 235,000 visiting a year. He hopes that number will grow as a result of coverage from the ASTW conference.
“There will be a positive impact with an increased presence in magazine and newspaper articles, broadcast media and more instant mediums such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook inspiring Australians to visit Rotorua.”