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Training to future proof NZ’s regions

As New Zealand’s business events sector (and tourism in general) enters a new phase of post pandemic development, it is important that people receive training that suits their level of experience in the industry.

“With all of the challenges around attracting and retaining staff, training and education have taken on even more importance,” says Tania Adolphe, managing director of Tourism Marketing Solutions (TMS)

“Part of this is being able to mould the content to suit the specific needs of the destination or organisation we are working with and making sure that the programme is targeted directly to the audience in attendance.”

Adolphe says TMS recently held training workshops in Selwyn and Kaikōura, which demonstrated the need for a flexible approach.

Teams working in these destinations have different needs to larger cities such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch or more traditional conference and incentive regions like Rotorua or Queenstown.

“Throughout the training we also identify opportunities that provide a framework that can feed into the region’s destination marketing plan or run alongside it. We do this by identifying key industries that may also align with the region’s community or sports funding.

“Working collaboratively throughout the day ensures strategies are developed to maximise both resources and investment to attract the ideal business fit for the region.”

Operators, who may not have met prior to the workshop, learn about each other’s businesses, enabling cross selling and offering alternative options for the client.

“This can lead to clients lengthening their stay, spending more and returning to the region with friends and family,” says Adolphe. “It also has the potential to identify key business investments and opportunities within some sectors – particularly in fast growing regions such as Selwyn District.”

Kelsey Waghorn, strategic events and sponsorship manager at Selwyn District, says the TMS workshop produced a framework from which to build a business events plan.

“I’m excited about the business events opportunities for our region,” she says. “The operators found the workshop very helpful – it has introduced them to broader possibilities offered by the business events tourism sector.”

For Kaikōura, a more established tourism region, TMS:Workshop was a fantastic opportunity to learn about this specific area of the market which is quite new to us, says Lisa Bond, destination manager at Destination Kaikōura.

“The workshop was insightful and I’m looking forward to the journey ahead. We have a very passionate bunch of people in Kaikōura. The guidance provided today will enable us to start to move forward.

“It is often not until you meet together that you start to see what is possible from a creative perspective and this workshop enabled that to happen.”