Operators blow away buyers at first Queenstown Trenz

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Queenstown’s tourism oper-tors have pulled off their largest ever free familiarisation trip – wowing attendees at the country’s biggest tourism trade show. 

On Tuesday afternoon, 40 local operators shouted 562 delegates here for the Tourism Industry Rendezvous NZ (Trenz) a go at everything in Queenstown – from bungy jumping and jetboating to helicopter flights and nature walks. 

Normally, the annual Trenz pow-wow doesn’t offer trips on such a scale to delegates who spent the half-day off blowing their minds. 

“It’s the largest and most elaborate famil exercise Queenstown’s ever done,” Destination Queenstown boss Tony Everitt says. 

“The feeling at the after-matches was very positive – just what we need to really re-invigorate tourism in Queenstown.” 

Sydney-based buyer Graham Boan, from The Travel Corporation, says it has made his first Queenstown Trenz experience one he’ll never forget. 

“The idea of taking an afternoon out so we can experience activities is amazing,” Boan adds. 

DQ communications boss Jen Andrews says DQ staff Kylie Brittain and Kate Dear worked long and hard to coordinate the mass famil – she also praised Queenstown operators. 

“The operators, hats off to them, they’ve really pulled it out.” 

Among them was Nomad Safaris which carried 65 delegates in 13 of its 4WD vehicles on three backcountry tour options. 

Co-owner Amanda Gatward-Ferguson says: “We were delighted to get that many people out.” 

Shotover Jet thrilled about 150 Trenz delegates, Canyon Swing took about 20-odd people and the Skyline gondola and luge hosted about 80. 

“It was a brilliant way to profile the region,” Canyon Swing market-ing boss Claire Stewart says. 

Trenz finished with a grand finale down Queenstown’s Mall last night after a jam-packed three days of buying and selling products to overseas markets. Billed as “speed-dating for tourism”, buyers did business with the country’s tourism providers in 15-minute slots at Frankton’s Events Centre and in a giant marquee outside. 

Kiwi operators are relying on business from Trenz 2011 to be a life-saver amid the worst inbound tourism numbers in years – following major natural disasters in Canterbury and Japan.