Kiri has led the regional tourism organisation (RTO) since it was re-established in 2011 to promote and develop Hamilton and the Waikato region as a visitor destination. Prior to that she spend two years setting up the RTO which now has the full support of the region’s councils and tourism industry.
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism chair Graeme Osborne said after seven years at the “hard edge” of regional tourism efforts Kiri had earned a well-deserved break.
Under her leadership, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism had achieved a great deal, he said. Visitors to the region spend more than $1 billion annually, the fifth highest regional spend in the country.
“Kiri has enormous drive and energy and she has led a team which has done an excellent job in a tough sector. It has been a real pleasure to work with her; she has given her all.”
He said Kiri was leaving behind a strong organisation with the local tourism sector well-positioned to take advantage of projected visitor growth. Over the next 10 years, the region was aiming to grow annual visitor expenditure to $1.35 billion.
“We’ve got excellent people and processes in place and we’re well into developing a plan which will focus on growing the region’s long-term tourism potential. Kiri can take a great deal of pride in what she will leave behind and we can all be confident their good work will carry on.”
Kiri will leave at the end of June this year and plans on taking a short break before focusing on some new opportunities. She admitted the decision to go was a difficult one.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity and I have been fortunate to have a fantastic team and board and strong support from local government and the industry. I will miss it but the time is right for me to start a new chapter knowing HWT and the region is in great shape.”