Tourism boss recalls Qtown links
GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
The new boss of the tourism industry's association has a long and rich relationship with Queenstown, and says keeping an eye on the resort is high on his list of priorities.
After only six days in his new role, and fresh from stepping away from the top job of hosting the Rugby World Cup, ex-Black Cap, head of New Zealand Cricket and former lawyer Martin Sneddon was in Queenstown yesterday and gave his first public speech as Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand chief executive officer.
Addressing Holidaypark Association of New Zealand conference delegates, Mr Sneddon said his job brief was to represent tourism companies that belonged to the association on a national level and interact with the highest levels of government and the private sector to represent the industry.
After a delving into an insider's perspective on the Rugby World Cup that was lapped up by delegates, Mr Sneddon gave The Southland Times a brief rundown on his history with Queenstown, and the resort's special needs, which he promised to school up on, and represent at the highest levels.
"When I was at university in Dunedin, me and then-girlfriend, and now wife Annie, used to hitch-hike to Queenstown for the odd weekend away," he said.
"I played a lot of cricket in Alexandra, and then I ran New Zealand Cricket, we started holding one- day international matches at John Davies Park, which were always really good occasions.
"So I was here each year for those occasions, but when I became involved in the Rugby World Cup I started coming down pretty frequently."
Mr Sneddon said having seen the resort evolve during many years, but only as a visitor, his new role would require a lot more research, because of Queenstown's importance in the role of national tourism.
"Over the next few months I'll be asking lots of questions about Queenstown, and the growth potential of tourism here. Queenstown is already well known and well respected as the jewel in the crown of national tourism, and a very important tourism hub, and it's really really important to me that Queenstown is working to its fullest potential.''
Close friend John Hart, along with Michael Hill, who are the driving forces behind the New Zealand Open held at Mr Hill's eponymous Arrowtown golf course, The Hills, were prime examples of making huge events with vast growth potential happen all off their own backs, Mr Sneddon said.
"Our job is to provide whatever support we can to people on the ground in the private sector who are taking on financial risk to drive and get things going, and anything we can do, like clear obstacles out of the way, is part of it.
"It's very important that we don't hold our hands out to the Government saying `give us this', but instead are continually going to them saying 'we're doing this, can you do this?' If the private sector and government both live up to their potential, then we're all going to have great outcomes.''
- © Fairfax NZ News