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Discussing Tourism Queenstown – 29 July 2019

The annual series of regional events provides an important forum to discuss the issues, challenges and opportunities facing tourism businesses and connects local businesses with industry leaders. Focused on business learning, with practical tools and tips to take away and implement in your organisation.


Worth $39.1 billion annually and supporting almost 1 in 7 jobs, tourism is a major contributor to New Zealand’s economic and social wellbeing, generating wealth and benefits to communities across the country.

Join us for an action-packed event with a mix of speakers, panel discussions and audience interaction.

The day focuses on three key areas:

  • ensuring sustainable tourism growth that benefits New Zealand and New Zealanders
  • how we better plan, fund and manage growth
  • ways to generate greater value for your business, save money and show leadership.
8.55am WELCOME
MC – Bonita Nuttall
9am – 9.20am   TOURISM – A NEW PHASE
Chris Roberts, Chief Executive, Tourism Industry Aotearoa
Our industry has now entered a new phase where the growth will be less spectacular than the past five years. What can we expect and how do we better plan, fund and manage sustainable growth and ensure tourism enhances Aotearoa for future generations?
James Helmore, General Manager, Lake Wanaka Tourism
For our industry to succeed, we need to manage the destinations, not just market them. Find out what your local RTO is doing to manage the destination to create value and deliver an outstanding visitor experience. And what it means for operators on the ground.
9.40am – 10.25am   THE TOURISM SYSTEM
Panel discussion: Chris Roberts, CE, TIA; Mike Theelen, Chief Executive, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Aaron Fleming, Director Operations – Southern South Island, DOC; Iain Cossar, General Manager – Tourism Branch, MBIE
A well-functioning tourism system is essential if the benefits of tourism are to be fully realised. The new Government Tourism Strategy acknowledges that the pace and scale of recent visitor growth has in some cases outstripped the capacity of the system to respond: “It needs better coordination and planning… with different government agencies, industry and local government working together for the best results”. Our panel will examine how that co-ordinated approach can be achieved – and you will have the chance to ask them the questions about what matters to you and your business.
Ting Zhang, Project Lead, Lightning Lab Tourism
Organisations are experiencing innovation at a fast pace and in this session, you’ll have the chance to learn more, what it means for your business, our industry and some tools that  you can take back and apply.
Henrik Arlund, BlueOcean
No matter what your organisation does, you can draw meaning from it and find greater purpose through how you do what you do. In this session you’ll uncover an understanding of your purpose and how important it is for delivering customer value, and how this creates value through the lens of the customer experience.
Sean O’Flaherty, Enviro-Mark Solutions
Climate change is the leading environmental challenge of our time and could radically reshape our economy and our industries – including tourism, which relies on our stunning natural landscapes and emissions-heavy air travel. This session covers what carbon emissions are, why they are important, and how measuring your footprint is the first step to a meaningful and effective reduction plan.
Case study – GO Rentals
Adrian Thompson, National Operations Manager, GO Rentals

Hear from the team at GO Rentals and their journey with their carbon footprint – the good, the bad and the ugly – and the wins! A honest account of how they’re taking steps to make a difference.
Bonita Nuttall
As the day comes to a close, this session will deliver practical strategies for building resilience, competitive edge and lasting success in your organisation. An inspirational session, you’ll leave with tools on how to inspire employees and leaders to embrace change, establish a positive culture that cultivates success, and build resilience and bounce back in the face of adversity. Help your organisation to develop and improve your competitive edge for growth.
2.45pm – 3.15pm   WRAP-UP
3.15pm – 4.30pm    NETWORKING DRINKS

2019 Speakers

Chris Roberts, Chief Executive, TIA

Bonita Nuttall, MC and Speaker

Chris joined TIA as Chief Executive in July 2014. Previously he was a General Manager at Tourism New Zealand, with responsibility for government and stakeholder relations.

Chris began his working life as a radio journalist. From senior editor roles at Radio New Zealand he moved to Parliament, which included working for the Minister of Tourism. Chris was involved in the development of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010, the first attempt to have a collaborative industry strategy.

His time in the Beehive was followed by a decade of senior corporate affairs roles in the energy sector before returning to tourism.

A small town girl, Bonita Nuttall has always had big dreams. “At school, I was that kid whose hand shot up the moment an oral exam was announced ”. Today, with over 20 years worth of experience collectively as a speaker, MC, coach and mentor, investigative journalist, TV Presenter and voice artist, Bonita is a communication specialist.

Founder and director of her company OUT-Standing Presenters, Bonita helps others claim their own authentic voice, so they can speak up and be heard in business and in life. As an inspirational speaker, Bonita helps businesses accelerate their staff’s productivity and motivation. Her talks have been known for inspiring audiences to embrace change, increase resilience and foster a positive culture of teamwork that cultivates success.

Roland Leemans, Chief Executive Officer, BlueOcean 

Henrik Arlund, Founding Partner, BlueOcean

Roland is Chief Executive Officer at BlueOcean and has a passion for solutions – often finding them before problems arise. He sees organisations as a solution waiting to happen and, using his substantial financial background and over 20 years management consulting experience, he dives deep into the structure of the organisation to develop and implement a winning strategy. Henrik is Founding Partner and COO at Blue Ocean. With a strong financial background, Henrik has an eye for detail and a passion for data analysis. He has the ability to comprehend the needs of clients by understanding the true frictions within their organisation. Henrik has implemented winning strategies and solutions for large hotel groups, associations, and destination management organisations.

Sean O’Flaherty, Sales Manager, Enviro-Mark Solutions

Adrian Thompson

Adrian Thompson, National Operations Manager, GO Rentals

Sean O’Flaherty is Sales Manager at Enviro-Mark Solutions. He brings his passion for sustainability and creative solutions to developing a high-performing, enthusiastic sales team, who in turn deliver success for our wide-ranging client group. Prior to his work at Enviro-Mark Solutions, Sean held a series of senior roles across New Zealand and the UK in the fast-moving consumer goods industry, including Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis and Snow + Rock. He is committed to creating a low carbon future through working with businesses of all shapes and sizes. Outside of business, Sean spends his time with his wife and two young sons. He loves gardening, music and supporting his local community. Adrian Thompson joined GO Rentals in 2014 originally as Branch manager based in Queenstown. Following his phenomenal success in branch he was offered the position of National Operations Manager and relocated to Auckland in 2017. Adrian comes from a varied and exciting background of international hospitality and management roles based primarily in the UK before. He is the head of the GO Rentals Health and Safety programme as well as leading the charge in all thing’s sustainability. Adrian is currently undertaking a Master’s Degree in Advanced leadership practice with Massey University. He completed the Icehouse Leadership Development Programme in 2017 and is also a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.
Ting Zhang

Ting Zhang, Project Lead, Lightning Lab Tourism


Ting Zhang is a consultant for start up projects in the social enterprise and sustainability space. Originally from New York City, Ting relocated to Aotearoa in 2015 with a background in product development, sales and digital marketing, most recently at Google.

She is currently representing Wayfare at Lightning Lab Tourism, exploring new ways of growing tourism sustainably through innovation. She is passionate about helping organisations make positive impact and has helped launch and fund Whakatipu Wildlife Trust, Sustainable Queenstown’s DISHrupt(TM), and TEDx Queenstown.

Delegate Information


Millennium Hotel Queenstown
32 Frankton Rd, Queenstown

Getting There

Located in the centre of Queenstown with on site car parking.

Dress Code

Smart casual or business attire is recommended.

Thank you to our Discussing Tourism Queenstown partners

Host City