Visit Ruapehu has won the Supreme Award at the Regional Tourism NZ Awards for their collaborative approach to tourism in the Manawatu-Whanganui Region.
The Regional Tourism New Zealand Awards celebrate the success of regional tourism organisations throughout the country and recognise their work within the tourism industry.
The Supreme Award recognises the Regional Tourism Organisation that achieved the most significant results in the last 12 months with Regional Tourism NZ saying that Visit Ruapehu was the clear winner.
Ruapehu Mayor Don Cameron says the Supreme Award was much deserved recognition for a lot of hard work by Visit Ruapehu General Manager Jo Kennedy and her team as well as the her predecessor Claire McKnight.
"Thanks also needs to go to Ruapehu elected members and ratepayers for their funding support of Visit Ruapehu and Council staff notably Chief Executive Clive Manley and Economic Development Manager Warren Furner for their invaluable contribution," says Mayor Cameron.
"While the Supreme Award reflects the significant results achieved by Visit Ruapehu over the previous year getting to this point has been a much longer journey that started with the release of the Manawatu-Whanganui Growth Study in 2015 that identified tourism as a major regional opportunity.
"Ruapehu’s comparative advantages in tourism and visitor services saw us appointed as the lead agency for unlocking regional tourism opportunities as part of a Manawatu-Whanganui growth programme called Accelerate25.
"Visit Ruapehu was charged with establishing a Tourism Project Group to identify opportunities where they could partner with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and NZ Trade and Enterprise.
"From this earliest point four years ago it was recognised that if we were to unlock the tourism opportunities before us and respond to the pressures from the sector’s growth it was critical for all stakeholders to work together for the benefit of everyone.
"This has seen Visit Ruapehu working with like-minded local, regional, national and government partners such as Tourism NZ, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, Taupo and Rotoura Councils, Auckland International Airport, Air NZ, Kiwi Rail and others to promote the Ruapehu region.
"The importance of having a cooperative strategy and everyone working together cannot be overstated.
"This has been key to Ruapehu gaining millions in government funding toward key infrastructure projects and the development of new attractions such as the Sky Waka gondola at Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu.
"Council and Visit Ruapehu are committed to maintaining the momentum and the positive impact our visitor economy is having on the growth of jobs, incomes and investment and opportunities in Ruapehu and the Region.
"Key to this is the need to continue our work on building meaningful partnerships and ensuring that tourism growth is productive, sustainable and inclusive and is contributing toward improving the well-being of all New Zealanders," he says.