Ready or not!

Join us as we explore new technologies like AI, VR and robotics – technologies that are coming to our industry at a rapid pace – whether we’re ready or not.

Together we will focus on future-proofing tourism and developing an innovative and digitally capable tourism industry.

View speaker bios

 Monday 6 November
Pre-Summit Welcome drinks
Venue: Te Wharewaka o Pōneke                                                                  

Tuesday 7 November
Registration opens. Arrival tea and coffee available.
Venue: Tākina Wellington Convention & Exhibition Centre
Mihi Whakatau
8.55am70 years of TIA and Summit welcome
MC - Jenny-May Clarkson

Industry Insights

Tourism Industry Strategy 2050

Rebecca Ingram, CEO, Tourism Industry Aotearoa

Chief executive Rebecca Ingram will be speaking on the state of tourism and our new industry strategy, Tourism 2050: A Blueprint for Impact, a guide for the next three decades.

Join us as Rebecca unpacks the industry’s most important issues, including new technology, environmental and cultural protection, powered-up research and industry funding.

Reinventing the travel experience
Greg Foran, CEO, Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran will provide an outlook on the future of Tourism, as we collectively as an industry, navigate our way back to the top spot as New Zealand’s largest export earner. He’ll cover how innovation is that the forefront of what the airline are doing to reinvent the travel experience and solve problems. Think digital bag tags, mechanical exoskeletons, and AI-powered travel assistants - Greg will share his optimism for the not-so-distant future plans for the airline

9.30amHarnessing AI to meet the needs of the post-Covid traveller
Speakers: Brendan Downey-Parish, General Manager Insights, Performance & Technology, Tourism New Zealand and Tom Braybrook, Managing Director, Australia & New Zealand · acceleration

Separating fact from fiction

How have travel behaviours have changed and what does this mean for the sector? How can AI enhance the both the way we work and how we meet the needs of visitors? In this session TNZ and their partner Mindshare will share travel consumer insights, how AI is evolving marketing technology and customer experience and how we can all make the most of the opportunities.

10.00amMorning tea
Visit the Innovation Hub exhibitors including Bunnings, Digital Boost, Eudora+, G Robotics, Predator Free 2050 and Sky Motion VR

Inspiration Sessions

Keynote: Artificial intelligence trends in 2023: opportunities and impacts for Aotearoa tourism operators

Ben Reid, Technology Futurist at Memia 

Rapidly advancing AI and robotics technologies in 2023 promise transformative impacts for Aotearoa New Zealand's tourism sector. Opportunities abound, notably in data analytics, process automation, improved customer experience and enabling sustainability initiatives - but there will also be significant challenges to overcome to deploy these solutions effectively and safely. 

New Zealand technology futurist Ben Reid will provide a tour of the latest developments in AI and robotics in 2023 and look at how tourism operators can start using these to drive towards improved business performance, enhanced visitor experience and a more sustainable industry overall. 


Robotic Revolution 
Speaker: Les Morgan, Chief Operating Officer, Sudima Hotels

Discover how Sudima Hotels has leveraged robots to enhance guest experiences, streamline operations, and elevate service standards. Les will share valuable insights into the benefits, lessons learned, and exciting opportunities for tourism businesses in the realm of robotics. 



Immersive Travel using Virtual Reality (VR)
Soraya Sarwary and Sean Mascarenhas, Founders, Sky Motion  

SkyMotion will take you on a breathtaking journey through the possibilities of virtual reality (VR) in tourism. Discover how VR technology can redefine travel marketing, provide unforgettable previews of tourist destinations, and create immersive experiences that leave a lasting impression on potential visitors. You’ll have the opportunity to try the VR experience during break times in the Innovation Hub to explore the stunning landscapes, cultural treasures, and hidden gems of Niue in an entirely new dimension.

AI for Sustainability: Lessons from Google

Annie Lewin, Senior Director of Global Advocacy and Head of Asia Pacific for Google’s philanthropic arm,

Google has been a pioneering force in harnessing AI with a sustainability-centric approach to bring about impactful change for our planet. Annie will delve into these groundbreaking and inspiring projects, providing a unique insight into how the future of AI and sustainability can work together.  

11.40amPanel Discussion: Seizing Technology Opportunities
Facilitated by Jenny May Clarkson. Panel members include Ben Reid, Les Morgan, Soraya Sarwary and Sean Mascarenhas and Annie Lewin. 

After an enlightening session with our expert speakers on the latest innovations in tourism technology, it's now your turn. This panel discussion is your opportunity to ask questions and engage with our panelists. Questions will be asked on


Visit the Innovation Hub exhibitors including Bunnings, Digital Boost, Eudora+, G Robotics, Predator Free 2050 and Sky Motion VR
1.10pm-1.50pmFocus sessions

Session 1: Demystifying Artificial Intelligence and Supercharging Your AI Journey
Hosted by: Alex Dykman, Maverick Digital (2022 PATA New Zealand Trust Emerging Tourism Leader Award)
Room: Main Plenary

Join us for an interactive workshop where we’ll explore the strengths and weaknesses of AI and look at the best ways to implement AI in tourism businesses. From customer service to marketing, AI has the potential to completely transform the way we attract, engage and delight our manuhiri. Unpack the opportunities surrounding AI for your business with this pragmatic, hands-on workshop focused on both the present and future potential of AI in tourism.   

Please bring a device and sign up to the free version of ChatGPT before the workshop –

Session 2: Build a resilient business for the future
Facilitators: Dr Erica Seville (Executive Director, Resilient Organisations) and Cameron Eade (Research Consultant, Resilient Organisations). 
Room: Plenary C

Ready or Not? ….  Better be Ready! 

In a disaster what will be the top priorities for you and your business, both during the immediate response and then afterwards?  What might be your biggest challenges to deal with?  What resources do you have access to that might usefully support your community?  What needs to be done now, before an event, so your response will be effective?  These are all big questions.  In this workshop we will share some simple, practical ways to prepare your business and your team to rise to the challenge during times of crisis.   

Session 3: Navigating the Future Tourism Workforce 
Facilitated by Jason Hill, Tourism Talent. Panel members include the finalists of Employer of Choice Award for 2023 Shane Adcock (Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa ), Gavin Oliver (EcoZip Adventures) and Helen Osborne (GO Rentals)
Room: Plenary E

The tourism industry in New Zealand continues to face staff challenges, including labour shortages, competition for skilled workers, and the need to adapt to a changing workforce and environment. Join us for an insightful workshop lead by Tourism Talent, and gain actionable insights on the importance of talent acquisition and effective retention tactics that will empower your business to secure and nurture a dedicated workforce going forwards.

Session 4: CarbonTrail - AI-powered carbon calculator 
Facilitated by Tom Hallam, CEO CarbonTrail
Room: Whātaitai Room

Understanding the impact of an itinerary - how operators can get ahead by understanding the environmental impact of their business activities, and win more business in an age of environmentally-conscious tourism. We'll see how an accurate CarbonTrail measurement can be used to help you improve your own practices and stand out from the crowd.

1.50pmRoom transition to next session.
The above focus sessions repeat.
2.40pmAfternoon tea
Last chance to visit the Innovation Hub exhibitors including Bunnings, Digital Boost, Eudora+, G Robotics, Predator Free 2050 and Sky Motion VR

Welcome to afternoon sessions - MC

Summit Talks 

12 minute sessions – get a range of innovative tourism companies talking about what they’re doing in the innovation and tech space 

Summit Talk 1: Unlock the Power of Augmented Reality: Preserving Culture, Language, and Business Growth Through Interactive Mobile Games 
Speaker: Amber Taylor, CEO Ara Journeys and Tuwhiri

Dive into the fascinating world of Augmented Reality (AR) where we'll explore how this innovative technology is being harnessed to create mobile games that serve as kaitiaki (guardians) of stories and languages from manu whenua. Discover how AR is helping to drive visitors to businesses, whilst preserving culture and language in an engaging and interactive way. Join us to witness the intersection of technology and cultural preservation in a truly immersive and enlightening experience.

Summit Talk 2: Interislander new ferries – a game changer for Aotearoa New Zealand
Speaker: Walter Rushbrook, Executive GM Interislander Business Readiness, KiwiRail

The journey across Te Moana o Raukawakawa is one of the most spectacular in the world and Interislander is creating an experience to match. Walter Rushbrook, Executive GM Interislander Business Readiness, will share highlights of the two new hybrid diesel electric ferries that will be a game changer for Aotearoa New Zealand in terms of efficiency, innovation, comfort and environmental benefits. The two purpose-built ships will be able to carry twice as many passengers as the current three-ship fleet and almost double the number of vehicles, catering for 30 years of tourism and trade growth. New terminals being constructed in Wellington and Picton to accommodate the ferries, which arrive from 2026, will provide amazing gateways to regional Aotearoa.

Summit Talk 3: AI Revolutionizing Conservation: Predator Free 2050
Speaker: Rob Forlong (CEO Predator Free 2050) and Dr Helen Blackie (Boffa Miskell)

Protecting and restoring our biodiversity is a priority for our industry and forms part of our industry strategy. A big part of Predator Free 2050 Limited’s role is to drive advances in science and Research & Development, and they have partnered with Critter Solutions/Boffa Miskell to create a world-first AI trap. Hear from Boffa Miskell’s Principal Biosecurity Consultant Helen Blackie about the trap, which is currently in field trials and gaining international attention. Predator Free 2050 Limited CEO, Rob Forlong will share his thoughts on how we can work together to achieve our shared vision of a predator-free Aotearoa.

3.45pmKeynote speaker: Be Ready, Stay Ready
Speaker: Nu’uali’i Eteroa Lafaele

The theme of this conference is Ready or Not. However, what happens when we are ready and we stay ready? Join Nu'uali'i as she takes you on her journey in tech, business, family and life and how she overcomes not just being ready but maintaining the steadfast attitude to stay ready.

4.25pm-4.30pmSummit closing - MC


New Zealand Tourism Awards Dinner
Venue: Tākina Wellington Convention & Exhibition Centre, Tāwhirimātea (Level 2)
Pre-dinner drinks 


New Zealand Tourism Awards dinner 
Join us as we showcase and celebrate the tourism industry’s individual and business successes of 2023!

MC - Jase Patu

Programme details are subject to change. 

Contact us
 04 499 0104  
 0800 TIA HELP (842 4357)

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