Wednesday, June 19, 2024

New appointments to Tātaki Auckland Unlimited team

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited (TAU) has announced two key appointments to its Destination rōpū (unit) today.

Michelle Hooper MNZM (pictured, right) has been appointed Head of Major Events and Karen Thompson-Smith (pictured, left) Head of Tourism. 

Ms Hooper previously served as Tournament Director of the Rugby World Cup 2021 and managed teams for World Rugby, FIFA, America’s Cup, New Zealand Olympic Committee and Team New Zealand. She has been recognised for her contribution with a King’s Birthday Honour in 2023, becoming a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Sport.

“With Auckland’s reputation for delivering major events at an all-time high following the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, we have a great opportunity for really showcasing our competitive advantage as a people and a region on the world stage,” said Ms Hooper.

“We must continuously deliver events that reflect the spirit and values of Auckland and Aucklanders — a region where tradition and progress harmonise and thrive. Events help inspire our people to achieve on the world-stage and grow Auckland’s international reputation and visitation as a world-class destination by demonstrating what great looks like”.

Ms Thompson-Smith has worked in the hospitality and tourism sector for three decades. She worked with Tourism New Zealand for several years, including a period with its North American team, before returning to the Aotearoa New Zealand office to focus on global events. From there, she joined Tātaki Auckland Unlimited (formerly ATEED) and led the Destination Development team.

Since 2022, she has worked as the Destination and Sustainability Manager at TAU where she spearheaded the completion of local destination management plans and supported research on the region’s nighttime visitor economy.

“I’m looking forward to joining the leadership team and revisiting the Destination AKL 2025 strategy, advancing it out to 2035 to provide direction, leadership, and guardianship for our region – not just as the gateway to Aotearoa New Zealand but as a stand-alone visitor destination,” said Ms Thompson-Smith.

“We will work collaboratively with tourism sector stakeholders and foster strong partnerships which support growth and sustainability of Auckland’s tourism industry.”

TAU’s Destination unit works with the local businesses and operators, as well as national and international partners to promote Tāmaki Makaurau as a destination for leisure visitors and business events, driving visitation to generate economic, social and cultural benefits for the region.

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