Tourism industry proposing digital plans to reconnect with international buyers

//Tourism industry proposing digital plans to reconnect with international buyers

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The country’s largest annual tourism event has been transformed to help local operators prepare for the eventual return of international tourists.

21066624 - milford sound, south west, new zealand

Milford Sound. (File photo).
Photo: 123RF

Each year, TRENZ usually attracts hundreds of international travel buyers to meet with local tourism operators, build relationships and negotiate business deals.

It was cancelled in 2020 for the first time because of the pandemic.

TRENZ Hui will be held in early May in Ōtautahi Christchurch with a focus on the industry working together to ensure the international tourism sector can make the fastest possible recovery and work through the real-world issues when the borders reopen.

The completely new programme will be based on three themes: revive, reconnect and revitalise.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa manages and produces TRENZ on behalf of the Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust.

Its chief executive Chris Roberts said there were some exciting digital plans to help people reconnect with international buyers.

“We carried out extensive research with the New Zealand tourism industry, international buyers and other stakeholders, to determine how best to deliver TRENZ in 2021,” Roberts said.

“We are putting on an event in Christchurch that is focused on how our international tourism sector can make the fastest possible recovery. This will be our industry’s opportunity to work together on a way forward.”

Work is underway on an interactive online platform to help local operators reconnect with international markets and buyers. It will provide up-to-date information on Aotearoa’s tourism offerings and will be available after the May event.

Support from the government’s Regional Events Fund meant that basic registration was completely free to one representative from eligible tourism businesses including inbound tour operators, he said.

ChristchurchNZ Destination and Attraction general manager Loren Heaphy said it was exciting to welcome the tourism industry to Ōtautahi Christchurch, especially as the city was due to host last year’s TRENZ.

“This event is an amazing opportunity to come together in our revitalised city and discuss the opportunities ahead for our sector,” Heaphy said.

“Ōtautahi Christchurch has gone through huge changes and overcome significant challenges in recent years, and we’re excited to show the country what we’ve been working on.”

Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran said reconnecting with the industry was an essential step ahead of the borders reopening.

“We look forward to recommencing international routes and welcoming visitors back to New Zealand as soon as we’re able to. Reconnecting with distributors of New Zealand tourism product in international markets is an essential step ahead of borders reopening, and TRENZ Hui 2021 provides a great opportunity for the industry to come together to plan New Zealand’s successful re-entry into international tourism markets,” Foran said.

Registrations for TRENZ Hui 2021 will open on Thursday.

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