Rotorua was New Zealand's first tourism destination, rising to prominence a hundred years ago on the back of the central government's vision for a South Pacific spa to rival those of Europe. Government resources were used to develop and support Rotorua's infrastructure and tourism industry, like no other in the British Commonwealth for the best part of the 20th century. However, by the 1980s Rotorua's tourism industry was in a crisis that was largely self-inflicted. The paper provides an historical summary of key events leading to the crisis, and subsequent efforts to regain destination competitiveness through a public-private partnership. Written from the perspective of the CEO of the destination's inaugural regional tourism organisation charged with co-ordinating the recovery, the case highlights how one destination's success as a destination has risen, fallen and risen in line with government intervention
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