Wanaka and Queenstown Ambassadors courses a template for Auckland
The award-winning QRC Ambassador programme, based in Queenstown, opened its programme to Auckland on October 2.
QRC Better Business Learning and Development Manager Fiona Boyer says the programme is all about story-telling and enabling better business connections with visitors and new comers.
The programme has been offered in Wanaka and Queenstown for several years and last year expanded to Cromwell and the West Coast.
It won Tourism Industry Aotearoa's Enabler Award in September and also collected the Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand Awards provider of the year award, plus the ITENZ inaugural supreme award.
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Wanaka is presently visited by an estimated 40,000 people a day, every day.
The town is in New Zealand's fastest growing district, the Queenstown Lakes district, with the total residential population conservatively projected to reach 38,000 in 2018, up from 28,000 in 2013.
According to the council, by 2023, Wanaka is expected to have a residential population of about 15,000 and be visited by many more tens of thousands.
These growth statistics keep Boyer motivated to keep offering Wanaka and Queenstown ambassador courses, which she and other facilitators teach regularly through the year.
She spent the last six months developing the Auckland programme, which opened in five regions with local facilitators this week.
There is demand for similar programmes from other regions, including Northland and Canterbury, she said.
"Councils, chambers of commerce and tourism bodies do help open the door to get it in . . . I love the community feel about it, the collaboration," she said.
Boyer is a former competitive ski racer who grew up in the Wakatipu Basin and returned after many years living away to work in the tourism industry year round.
She is passionate about passing on legends and inspiring stories from the district's early Maori history and early European settlement through to the development of ski fields and tourism businesses.
"It is all about story. I have always lived in a world of exceptional story telling. It is about being able to pass on the word," she said.
Passing on stories also helped give visitors a better experience and appreciation of the district, she said.
DO THE COURSE: For more info and bookings, go to queenstownresortcollege.com/better-business/ambassador.