Expo about making links in tourism chain

Startup Queenstown Lakes chief executive James Burnes, of Queenstown, expects the Tourism Tech...
Startup Queenstown Lakes chief executive James Burnes, of Queenstown, expects the Tourism Tech Expo, being held for the first time today, will become a globally significant event. PHOTO: TRACEY ROXBURGH
Organisers of Queenstown's first Tourism Technology Expo, being held today, already have plans to make it a globally significant event.

Startup Queenstown Lakes - which stemmed from The Cube, established in Wanaka in 2016 - and the Wanaka & Wakatipu Investment Network, launched last month, are behind the initiative.

The expo will give start-ups the chance to pitch to a room full of investors and showcase new technology to tourism, hospitality and accommodation operators, who would learn how to leverage it to run more effective and efficient businesses.

Startup Queenstown Lakes chief executive James Burnes said it was part of a "grander strategy" to leverage the strengths of the district to build a "start-up and tech innovation ecosystem here in the region".

"For us, tourism tech as an industry and start-up sector is something that we intend to focus on over the next few years."

He said establishing Tourism Tech Expo as a way to showcase activities from around New Zealand in the sector was important.

While today's event was "more of a demo day", next year the expo would be held over three days and include education workshops, programmes for operators and an expanded expo hall.

"We expect this [to become] within the global tourism industry one of the well-known events.

"This event is about connecting innovators with operators in the field and I think ... this year's going to seed those relationships and start driving better ways to bring together those tech companies with the customers who are looking for new ways to operate.

"In the future ... the three-day event is intended to make that type of ... collaboration much easier.

"As far as we're concerned we think Queenstown's a great place to host that event. I think the biggest risk is the event will get much bigger than what we can handle here."

Tickets, priced at $59, were still available for this afternoon's session at the Queenstown Memorial Centre, which will include a presentation from Campermate founder Adam Hutchinson, beginning at 12.45pm.

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