Royal media to Omaka treat

An invitation-only event at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre has been added to the official media programme for the royal visit.

Hundreds of media personnel from all over the world are expected in Blenheim for the royal visit on Thursday next week. Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said many would be flying in the night before, so it would be a good opportunity for the region to showcase Marlborough's wine and food and the centre.

"It's an exciting opportunity . . .to host them here in Marlborough, introduce them to the region through food and wine is great. The event is now included in the official media programme."

The event was a collaboration between Destination Marlborough, Tourism New Zealand and Wine Marlborough, she said.

They pitched the idea to Tourism New Zealand and the Department of Internal Affairs and got permission to include it in the media programme.

The event has taken just 10 days to plan since they got the go-ahead, she said.

"For Destination Marlborough, it's looking at how we make the most of this opportunity. It's a media opportunity on steroids," Johnston said.

Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens agreed the event was a great opportunity.

The region needed to make the most out of the royal visit, he said.

Marlborough wine and food would also be represented at a wine and food evening in Wellington, he said.

Wine Marlborough was talking with Marlborough wineries to find out who had connections to the royal family in one form or another, Pickens said.

He said he estimated 65 people would attend the event, though numbers were not yet confirmed.

Two Bombardier Q300 aircraft from Wellington were fully booked the day before the royal visit, Johnston said. They were the flights on which media personnel were recommended to travel.

The Marlborough Express