By TRACEY ROXBURGH
Destination Queenstown’s new CEO wants to hit the ground running.
Mountain Scene can reveal former RealNZ Queenstown Experience general manager Mat Woods has been appointed by the DQ board and will start on June 20.
Originally from Manawatu, the 50-year-old’s been in the Otago region since 1992.
He spent about 20 years with R&R Sport, including almost three as managing director, and was Torpedo7’s retail ops general manager before he joined Cardrona Alpine Resort as its sales and services head in 2016, also taking on that job for Treble Cone in 2020.
After a four-month stint with RealNZ, Woods left there last December to become NZ Fine Touring’s GM.
He’s also been on the Snow Sports NZ board for more than five years, and has been Lake Wanaka Tourism’s chair for almost three.
DQ chair Richard Thomas says he and the board are delighted to welcome Woods over the hill again.
‘‘Mat has a strong passion for Queenstown and for our reputation as a world-class visitor destination.
‘‘He brings strong leadership and commercial skills, and a deep focus and understanding of revenue generation.
“He is entrepreneurial and has a solid history of building businesses.’’
Thomas says the board was impressed with Woods’ ‘‘energetic approach’’, understanding of the issues and the sector, and his involvement in developing the region’s destination management plan.
He’s also got strong stakeholder management skills, and his role with Lake Wanaka Tourism’s given him sound understanding of a regional tourism organisation, ‘‘which will
enable him to hit the ground running’’, Thomas says.
Woods, who met his wife of 21 years, lawyer Dr Deb Inder, at Otago Uni 29 years ago, says he’s raring to go.
‘‘It’s a really exciting role — I can’t wait to get in and really … build on that next chapter of the Queenstown story.’’
He accepts, though, it’s also going to be challenging given the worker shortage crisis and the need to improve air connectivity from international markets.
‘‘There’s still a lot of work ahead of us.’’
Woods replaces short-lived DQ CEO Paul Abbot, who moved from Aussie for the top job last July.
Due to closed borders, his family had to stay in Cairns and while Abbot managed to get across the ditch last Christmas, he couldn’t get back to NZ.
He ultimately decided to put his family first, quitting in February — less than a month later the government announced dates to open the border.