Eco-tourism represents a major part of Rotorua’s strategy to reinvent itself in a bid to maintain its popularity as a tourism destination.
The region, often described as the birthplace of tourism in New Zealand, is known for its geothermal attractions along with its extensive range of activities. It attracts around 3.2 million visitors per year.
“The attractions are what fills your days, but the reason people come to Rotorua is for the lakes, and because we’re the number one mountain biking destination in the southern hemisphere,” Destination Rotorua trade marketing manager Patrick Dault told Travel Today.
However, he acknowledged that a number of other destinations within New Zealand also boast natural and adventure activities, with areas such as Queenstown also popular because of their ski slopes. But he insisted that Rorotua’s attractions make it a strong rival.
“Yes, if you go to Queenstown you have got a beautiful lake and great mountains, but here you can go mountain biking, take a scenic flight to White Island and experience the geothermal which really is unique to Rotorua,” he said.
“In Queenstown they have a winter which is great because you can ski there, but here you can waterski 365 days a year.
Dault also highlighted Rotorua’s waterfall, describing it as the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world thanks to its seven metre drop.
But Rotorua will continue to develop its key activities to ensure it remains competitive, he continued.
“We’re know for geothermal and for being multicultural but for us it is about developing some of the other things,” he said.
Eco-tourism forms a strong part of that strategy with attractions such as Canopy Tours among the new additions.
“People want tourism with a purpose.”