This year’s TRENZ event is placing recycling, reducing and reusing as the core focus for sustainability in Rotorua.

While the travel industry revolves around conferences and face to face connection, events are unfortunately widely regarded as some of the most polluting and wasteful business activities going.

Let’s face it; conferences are often a destructive affair and an insult to environmental policies on every level.

From delegates flying vast distances to get there and back, to the excess landfill waste heaped on the destination and additional fossil-fuelled transport emissions that end up becoming the more unsavoury legacy delegates leave behind.

Sadly, considering the holistic impact of a conference or event on the local host community is all too often masked by the so-called ‘economic value’ that the event brings to merely a few.

Who's left to clear up the mess?

Who’s left to clear up the mess?

Tourism Industry Aotearoa, which manages TRENZ on behalf of the Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust is aiming to change all that in Rotorua this year with a raft of sustainable initiatives in action this week.

From delegate bags made from recyclable and washable paper and donating left-over food to local charities, this year’s TRENZ in Rotorua is the greenest ever.

Chris Roberts, Chief Executive of Tourism Industry Aotearoa, which manages the event on behalf of the Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust. says “one inspiring TRENZ initiative is the pest trapping experience, which is being undertaken in partnership with Rotorua Canopy Tours and the Department of Conservation.”

“TRENZ delegates have been offered the opportunity to trap for rats and possums on the part of the native forest where Rotorua Canopy Tours operates.”

Rotorua Canopy Tours

“They will be led into the forest for a guided hands-on experience, trapping in an area that hasn’t been touched before. About 25 delegates are booked to take part in the trapping,” says Rotorua Canopy Tours Chief Executive Jamie Fitzgerald.

“Working on such important conservation objectives has been a priority at Canopy Tours for years, so we’re really heartened to see the wider tourism community engagement with this crucial work in the forest this week throughout TRENZ.”

Rotorua Canopy Tours Chief Executive Jamie Fitzgerald.

TRENZ Recycled bags

TRENZ delegate bags made from recyclable and washable paper

A raft of other environmental initiatives is being introduced at this year’s TRENZ, including using mugs or compostable cups for the more than 10,000 cups of coffee that get consumed and, where food standards allow it, donating left-over food to local Rotorua charities.

“We have also made an investment into digital to cut back on paper, and are working with the venue, the Energy Events Centre, to ensure rubbish is recycled or composted wherever possible.

The $39.1 billion New Zealand tourism industry’s biggest and most important annual showcase, TRENZ 2019 will be attended by more than 1500 domestic and international delegates who over four days (13-16 May) will attend a total of more than 15,000 meetings, multiple networking functions, and experience the region’s visitor attractions first hand.

“It’s a major logistical feat, and we are determined to make it as environmentally and socially sustainable as possible,” explains Mr Roberts.

The Air New Zealand coffee stand is leading the charge

“Both the Trust and TIA are signed up to the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment, as are our major TRENZ partners. As part of that, we are committed to reducing waste, supporting ecological restoration and contributing to the host community.

TIA is also leading a new group called the New Zealand Events Sustainability Initiative to support the New Zealand events sector to be more socially and environmentally sustainable.

Mr Roberts says that; “This year’s TRENZ sustainability initiatives are just the start. We are already looking at what more can be done at TRENZ 2020 in Christchurch, with one an ambitious goal to make the event carbon zero.”

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