Hosted by Development West Coast (DWC), the event was attended by over 150 tourism operators from Karamea to Haast and featured speakers from all over New Zealand. Patrick Dault, Destination and Tourism Manager for DWC, emphasised that 2024 will be the 'Summer of the Coast', a season dedicated to collaboration and opportunities that will propel the tourism sector forward. "This is our chance to get together and collaborate to make it an exceptional one, for everyone,” Dault said.
Sponsored by the Scenic Hotel Group, Great Journeys of New Zealand, and Monteith’s Brewery, the Hui included prominent speakers from award-winning tourism operators, government agencies, and regional organisations. All gathered in Greymouth to share their ambitions and forecasts for the upcoming seasons. Dault noted that the gathering was a "fantastic testament to the West Coast Tourism Community" and a chance to discuss improving tourism experiences across the country.
This year's theme, 'Our People, Our Region, Our Future,' aimed to understand the connections between tourism businesses in the region and throughout Aotearoa. It also sought to align regional ambitions with DWC's Destination Management Plan, a holistic approach to tourism development.
Phil Rossiter, project lead for the Dolomite Point Visitor Centre Redevelopment, stated, “The Hui brings credibility to the industry, to DWC, to the West Coast, and brings stakeholders together with greater confidence and a sense of belonging.”
“It's also a great opportunity for industry to gain more confidence and share knowledge, allowing the region to reach new markets,” stated Ali Smith, Head of Product and Innovation with Scenic Hotel Group, who presented to a packed room, on building capability for business events.
The event featured diverse topics, from developing destinations and innovation to productivity and sustainability. Speakers included Ali Smith from Scenic Hotel Group, Bobbi Brown of Southland, representatives from Great Journeys of New Zealand, Entrada, and Air New Zealand, as well as Gisela Purcell from Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA). Each shared valuable insights on transportation developments, airline innovations, sustainability initiatives, and national tourism goals. The day ended with a preview of the 'Pretty Great Actually Campaign' by Make Collective, showcasing a distinct West Coast voice that has garnered remarkable engagement in the past.
In true West Coast tradition, the event wrapped up at Monteith’s Brewery, where discussions continued, stories were shared, and connections were strengthened, leaving a sense of strong optimism for 2024.
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