Rotorua has been named as one of the top places to see in the prestigious New York Times' 52 Places to Go in 2018 list.
The list, described as a “starter kit for seeing the world” features Rotorua at number 45 – the only New Zealand destination to make the list.
Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer says it is fantastic to see the city make the list, reinforcing Rotorua's international reputation as a world-class destination.
With a daily readership of more than 9 million people, and more than 220,000 following The New York Times Travel Facebook page, Michelle says the exposure in the list is phenomenal recognition for the solid work that has been undertaken by the industry, Destination Rotorua, Rotorua Lakes Council and others.
“This will open the eyes of a new sector of travellers who may not have previously considered Rotorua as a destination.”
The blurb talks about the sulphurous geysers and mineral-rich hot springs which “scent” Rotorua, a hub of Māori culture.
It also pays tribute to the Redwood Treewalk nightlights as another example of the way nature is animated.
“Thirty dramatic lighting installations from the designer David Trubridge romance the majestic trees after dark.”
Regular contributors for The New York Times were asked for ideas on places to make the list, with hundreds of submissions, which are then whittled down to the final 52.
It is the 13th year such a list has been compiled and this year, for the first time, a 52 Places Traveler has been selected to travel to every place on the list during 2018.
Michelle says the article ties in well with ongoing international activity to ensure Rotorua stays top of mind with trade and international agents.
Rotorua's tourism target is $1.5 billion in visitor expenditure by 2030, with the city on target to achieve that goal.
Rotorua has a great deal to offer a wide range of stakeholders from around New Zealand and the world, and we will continue to work hard alongside our industry to showcase the city and its opportunities in 2018.
Rotorua Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson isn't surprised to see Rotorua feature.
“We have a long, proud history of tourism and manaakitanga/hospitality with our strong culture and unique natural environment at the forefront.”
Tourism remains a cornerstone of the local economy and a lot has been invested in refreshing Rotorua's offering and lifting its profile nationally and internationally, he says.
“Rotorua is a place where you can be as active or passive as you like with waterways, forests, geothermal wonders, spas, and a multitude of attractions and activities – that's why people visit and why we live here.
“Signature events showcase the best of our destination, adding to exposure like this, and we have a lot of great ambassadors like cultural groups and home-grown sportspeople competing and performing on the world stage.”
Redwoods Treewalk co-founder and director Bruce Thomasen says it is amazing recognition to be picked up in a market like that.
“It's great for New Zealand and it is great for Rotorua.”
Bruce says it highlights the value of working with design champion David Trubridge, enabling the Treewalk to be a world class attraction.
“The iconic local beauty of the Redwood forest, just five minutes from town, combined with the award-winning designer Trubridge lights (one of which, Titi, won Gold at last year's premier design awards, the Best Awards), has proven to be a perfect formula. During the day time the experience is about nature, at night it becomes magical.”