At Waka Paddle Rotorua we have now wound up our scheduled trips for the year, so we can step back and reflect on our first season's learning in preparation for next year. We were fortunate to finish up before the onset of Coronavirus and the impact of this on our already struggling industry.
Rotorua tourism providers, especially our neighbours at the Lakefront have had, and will continue to have, a very challenging year. The Lakefront development, while promising a wonderful future, has reduced foot traffic and created a difficult environment to work in. The tragic events on Whakaari/White Island have had major implications for all working in a geothermal environments. And now Coronavirus, with associated travel and activity restrictions is resulting in a major downturn in international tourism - which is the foundation of much of the business in the industry, and in our city.
Now is the chance for change. More can, and should, be offered to our local and national populations and we hope that the industry will step up to this. On behalf of our community - we ask for your support. Come and visit - you may experience new things, see our country from a different perspective, and realize what a gem Rotorua is! Locals have a look at your own backyard and invest in it - we all benefit from the tourism dollar.
Be assured, we are all trying to respond to this unique health event responsibly and will do what we can to reduce the spread and impact of Coronavirus. For now that has been a focus on ensuring robust health and safety/pandemic plans are in place. It may mean some closures, but for now the industry is up and running and needing your support - jobs are depending on it.