9 Aug 2022

Tourism Export Council conference attracts 270 tour operators to Nelson

10:11 am on 9 August 2022

Nelson's tourism businesses will be on show this week as international tour operators visit the region to explore visitor attractions ahead of the summer season.

A family enjoying the low tide on Rocks Road in Nelson near Fifeshire Rock.

It is estimated the Tourism Export Council's annual conference will inject about $500,000 into the Nelson economy. File photo Photo: RNZ / Samantha Gee

The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand is holding its annual conference in Nelson this week for the first time since 2005.

Chief executive Lynda Keene said 270 delegates attending the conference are inbound tour operators who go sell and market independent businesses and itineraries offshore.

"There's many jewels in the treasure chest of the Nelson Tasman region and it's always one of the favourites for our international visitors, whether it's independent travellers, group tours or incentive and conference groups.

"I think the region is in a really strong position to leverage off not only the existing reputation they've had as a great visitor destination, but to grow that even further in the future."

There is optimism for the upcoming summer season, but some trepidation about what it may bring, she said.

"We still have arrival testing, we have the travel declaration form and the perception offshore is that New Zealand is not fully open, so there's still some nervousness that not all the bookings that we have in the system will materialise, if they do, there's some good reason to be optimistic for the future."

The return of international visitors would be a slow burn and take about three years for the industry to return to pre-Covid visitor numbers, Keene said.

The last two years had been tough for many businesses.

"This time last year, we where hitting the 21/22 season, and no-one would have envisaged another 12 months of no international visitors, so we're looking forward to the upcoming summer season."

It was estimated the conference would inject $500,000 into the local economy, with 270 delegates travelling from around New Zealand to spend four nights or more in Nelson, she said.

"That economic contribution is quite valuable at a time when it's been really tough for businesses."

A number of global inbound alliance partners would be attending the conference virtually from the UK, Europe and Australia.

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