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Hastings gearing up to welcome international visitors

James McMenamin

With the recent Government announcement confirming New Zealand will open its borders in May, the Hastings i-SITE is preparing to welcome international visitors with lots of exciting changes and improvements underway.

Notably the recent appointment of James McMenamin as the new i-SITE and Visitor Experience Manager. This role had been inactive within the Hastings i-SITE for the last two years due to the COVID-19 downturn, however his appointment signals the start of positive change and growth for tourism within the Hastings CBD and wider district.

For the past nine years Mr McMenamin has been the assistant manager at Cape Kidnappers Luxury Lodge – The Farm, and he brings a wealth of tourism knowledge, customer service experience and a wide array of international contacts.

He said he was proud to take up his new role and looked forward to welcoming visitors and locals through the i-SITE doors to discover all the great things to see and do in Hastings and greater Hawke’s Bay.

Further strengthening Hastings’ tourism and promotion position is the appointment of Vicky Roebuck to the position of Hastings District Council marketing and brand lead. With more than eight years spent with Hawke’s Bay Tourism, and five years as a marketing, PR and communications consultant specialising in tourism, food, wine and events, she also brings extensive experience.

Hastings District Council group manager marketing, communications & engagement Naomi Fergusson said she was delighted to announce these new appointments and saw them as another important step in the promotion of Hastings.

“Hastings district and the city centre have gone from strength to strength in recent years, with more great developments in the pipeline. We are excited to leverage these opportunities for our district and local businesses, and further support the great work done at a national level by Hawke’s Bay Tourism.”

Mid-year, the Hastings i-SITE will relocate to the Municipal Building on Heretaunga Street East alongside a host of other exciting tenants who will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Currently in the final stages of development, the Municipal Building is the last piece of the Toitoi - Hawke’s Bay Arts & Event Centre project.  Its completion will mark a major milestone in the Toitoi redevelopment project which has also included the earthquake-strengthening and refurbishment of the Opera House and redevelopment of the former Plaza into the multi-use space, Functions on Hastings.

Hawke’s Bay Tourism chief executive Hamish Saxton said he was pleased to see Hastings add considerable weight to the city’s tourism offering.

“It is wonderful to see this level of investment into our region’s tourism infrastructure. Covid-19 has, at various times, explicitly shown us the value of visitors and what our cities and towns would be like without any – empty streets, empty retail stores and empty bars and restaurants. Investment in infrastructure like this enhances the visitor experience of Hawke’s Bay and ensures our region continues to be a wonderful place to visit.

“Hawke’s Bay continues to have vast appeal to New Zealand travellers, with the region seeing record visitor spend during many months of 2020 and 2021. Now, as we prepare to welcome back international visitors, it is great to have additional regional support to assist in maximising the economic benefit for our entire region.”

The Hastings i-SITE is currently open six days a week in its Westermans Building location and offers visitor services, bookings and tickets, and a large array of retail souvenirs.

8 April 2022

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