The Tourism New Zealand Board and some members of the core leadership team held their board meeting in Hamilton and toured two attractions – Hamilton Gardens and the Waitomo Caves.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to showcase our region to the Tourism New Zealand board, and share some of the opportunities and challenges we face as an emerging visitor destination” said Hamilton & Waikato Tourism chief executive Jason Dawson.
He says Tourism New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall was impressed by what they experienced, and were especially ‘wowed’ by the Hamilton Gardens.
“We were also able to showcase our region’s iconic Waitomo Glow-worm Caves which has been a visitor attraction for 129 years, alongside the Gardens which is one of our ‘younger and developing’ destinations,” added Jason.
The visit comes as Hamilton City Council in June unveiled an ambitious plan to complete a further 13 themed gardens in the next 10 years.
Jason says leisure and business tourism is now booming and contributing $1.511 billion into the regional economy annually, just fifth behind Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.
“Hamilton and Waikato is a good fit for Tourism New Zealand’s regional dispersal strategy which focuses on encouraging visitors to explore outside the main tourism destinations and during the shoulder seasons” says Mr England-Hall.
Mr England-Hall also shared how Tourism New Zealand is keen to help regions grow by $1 billion per annum from 2023 to ensure that growth is sustainable and enriches New Zealand.
“Information is the key to informing smart investment in tourism infrastructure and product development decisions and we are really excited to play more of a role in this. The information will also be used to inform campaign work, marketing and storytelling workshops for industry to ensure visitors include Hamilton and Waikato into their holidays” says Mr England-Hall.
“Tourism New Zealand want to help the Hamilton and Waikato region grow by $1 billion per annum by developing, implementing and promoting strategies that are regionally-focused and align with gateways like Auckland which connect the region to the world.”
The visit culminated in a dinner attended by Hamilton Mayor Andrew King and Mayor of Waitomo Brian Hanna, alongside major Hamilton and Waikato tourism stakeholders.