Regional Visitor Development Plan and Brand Proposition

The potential of the visitor sector in the Ruapehu area is significant and yet the contribution of the sector to the area’s economy is a fraction of what it could be.

Ruapehu District Council and Visit Ruapehu tasked HenleyHutchings with developing a unique and compelling destination strategy and visitor development plan for the region, which would maximise the opportunity provided by the region’s stunning natural landscape. We aimed to add dimension and development to the existing visitor sector offerings and a strategy for development of new initiatives. We were also asked to refine how the destination could be communicated to the visitor sector market.

We collaborated with consultant Dave Bamford and branding agency MediaCom to contribute the comprehensive suite of skills required by the project. Our approach was to actively involve iwi, local and central government, the community and the broad visitor sector in all parts of project.

We drew on a broad range of information sources, including statistics, metrics, stakeholder interviews and previous research, to produce a Situational Diagnostic Report. We then co-designed the visitor development plan which identified potential new visitor attractions which would enable visitor expenditure to be doubled by 2025grow iwi participation and sustain environmental and heritage values

This was supported by a new brand proposition of ‘’Ruapehu – Our Greater Outdoors’ and a refreshed visual identity. This was launched to all tourism providers locally, nationally and internationally.


  • A comprehensive destination strategy, completed in 100 days.

  • This project was recognised for its focus and quality at the 2017 EDNZ conference.

  • Based on this strategy, we are now involved with the development of business cases and funding applications for new visitor attractions. An early success was the successful application for $10m of PGF funding for the Ruapehu Gondola (Turo Chondola).


  • Analysis – synthesising data and creating new information sources through extensive stakeholder interviews

  • Strategy – Defining opportunities and enablers

  • Communications – development of brand and visual identity for the promotion of the region

  • Facilitation - with business, iwi, local and central government and other key stakeholders

  • Collaboration – with project governance team, key stakeholders and working with other consultants and agencies