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Queenstown can cope with hosting a thousand domestic and international tourism agents at Tourism Rendezvous New Zealand (Trenz) next year and the Southern Lakes will be poised to reap the benefits, tourism and civic leaders say.
The tourism industry's annual international showcase will be held in Queenstown for the first time, in the week commencing Monday, May 23, 2011.
Destination Queenstown chairman Mark Quickfall said Tourism Industry Association (TIA) chief executive Tim Cossar and he had discussed the "opportunities, challenges and excitement" involved in hosting the expo with DQ chief executive Tony Everitt a month ago and various venues were considered.
The traditional format of stands in an exhibition hall was likely to change to suit the absence of a large, single venue in the Wakatipu.
However, the number of participants was anticipated to be the same as the 2010 show, which ended yesterday. More than 270 international travel and tourism buyers, about 250 exhibitors, tourism organisations and operators, including 21 from Queenstown, as well as 60 domestic and international media and other industry stakeholders attended.
Mr Quickfall said the compact central business district could itself become a venue, as opposed to a convention centre removed from the centre.
"The style will be quite different and we've got some ideas. We've got 12 months to work on it.
"It's a huge opportunity to showcase Queenstown and the Southern Lakes."
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Clive Geddes said yesterday Trenz was a tremendous opportunity, which should be taken as "a real sign of confidence" in the region.
"A Queenstown-based Trenz can only generate enormous spinoffs for this community. It's great news."
Mr Everitt said it was a great coup for the Southern Lakes alliance of Destination Queenstown, Lake Wanaka Tourism and Destination Fiordland.
"This is the first time we will be the host region for Trenz and this means we can showcase the area to more than 200 international travel and tourism buyers and media in one hit.
Mr Everitt said Southern Lakes tourism organisations were "really looking forward to working with the TIA and the New Zealand operators for next year's event".
"I'm sure our local operators will relish being able to sell their products on their doorstep."
Destination Fiordland manager Lisa Sadler said she was delighted Trenz would be a Southern Lakes event and recognised the partnership between the three organisations.
"We think it's going to be hugely beneficial. I remember when it was held in Christchurch, it was such a big deal for the South Island, so to have it within the Southern Lakes, so much the better."
Lake Wanaka Tourism (LWT) and tourism businesses are already planning to host international buyers from travel organisations on familiarisation tours.
The trade show would give Wanaka's profile a significant boost, LWT general manager James Helmore said yesterday.
"Not only will we raise awareness of Lake Wanaka as a destination, but also our local tourism businesses can put themselves in front of influential buyers, not in an exhibition booth but surrounded by the spectacular landscape they live and work in."