It was a fast and furious experience and my mind is full of ideas and opportunities to promote New Zealand in Canada.
Having the opportunity to meet many New Zealand operators while at TRENZ - in my dual role as Canadian PR representative and TRENZ blogger (http://trenzblog.com/) - has been of huge benefit to me. There is nothing like hearing about an activity, attraction, event or accommodation directly from the person who owns or manages it.
Making human connections
Kiwis seem to have a real passion for what they do and that often came across when we met at TRENZ.
I went from appointment to appointment, getting more and more excited about the incredible things visitors can do and see in New Zealand. Plus, there are so many amazing places to stay!
Back in Canada, at our PR agency office, the team laughed at me whenever I Skyped or emailed to say "I just talked to the best tour operator EVER!" They'd get this several times a day during my time at TRENZ.
TRENZ is an important event and one that, I believe, is of great value to the tourism industry in New Zealand. I think the social functions are as important as the appointments because these events allow buyers, exhibitors, media and industry leaders to connect as people, one on one.
Activities, adventure - and Kiwis
There are a lot of activities in New Zealand that Canadians are interested in: from high adrenaline adventure, to the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, to learning more about Māori culture, and indulging in the great food New Zealand has to offer.
TRENZ empowers me with information on the huge range of activities on offer and what is special about each village, town, city or region. But, I have to say, in my experience no matter how much fun visitors have in New Zealand, it always comes down to the people they meet
At the heart of the New Zealand experience is the Kiwis and their friendly, open, good-natured approach. I think that is the biggest asset New Zealand has in respect to tourism.
Having the opportunity to attend TRENZ each year energizes my soul and inspires me to approach life the way New Zealanders do - with an open heart and a great sense of humour. It also inspires me to go on a diet and quit drinking when I go home, but I don't think I can totally blame that on TRENZ or my fun-loving tourism colleagues!
Blog a social success
Writing TRENZblog.com has been an opportunity for me to engage with New Zealanders in the tourism field, and with travel industry professionals and travel media (consumer and trade) throughout the world.
While the blog isn't quite finished for the season - I still have several posts to write - early numbers tell us that the number of unique viewers is similar to last year (in the thousands) and we have had visitors from all over the world.
One of the more interesting things to note is that people are more engaged this year. There are more people on Twitter and Facebook and they are sharing the links toTRENZblog with their friends and communities.
Readers have stayed on the blog almost twice as long as last year. So either I am getting far more interesting (!!) or we are just hitting our stride in reaching out to those who might not be able to make it to TRENZ physically but still want to know what is going on. Social media is allowing us to expand the reach of TRENZ and that's an exciting opportunity.
As always, I am sad to leave New Zealand. But I head home to Canada inspired, energized and ready to share my excitement and everything I learned from TRENZ with the media in Canada. There is so much to tell them about the great things that can be done, seen, eaten and drank in New Zealand. I have to admit, I love my job!
Read more about Canada in our market guide