Waitaki-based Ian Elliott spends a lot of time on the road. In his role as a Tourism Business Advisor he looks after a geographical area that spans Franz Josef, Tekapo, and Stewart Island. It’s an area that relies heavily on tourism and Ian says this makes his role even more valuable.
“There are an incredible range of businesses spread geographically throughout this very strong tourism region. I work with Qualmark partners who primarily operate visitor experiences, tours and transport activities. I get to see best practice in both big companies and small businesses, as well as having the formal Qualmark processes to cross-check a business against, you develop a sense of benchmarking of the features that make a tourism business great,” says Ian.
Ian has a background in start-ups and business development, a former tourism operator, chief executive and board chair, Ian brings strong business acumen to share with licensed Qualmark partners. Earlier in his career, Ian set up and ran Naseby Adventure Central, involving a mountain biking business and the Royal Hotel. He worked as Marketing Manager for Tourism Waitaki, where he strengthened trade relationships with China, marketing the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, and promoting the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail.
“My background in the sector is invaluable for this role. As a Tourism Business Advisor my role is to work alongside businesses to provide feedback and guidance,” he says.
“I know the challenges first-hand of recruiting and retaining the right mix of staff when you’re based in a remote area and the business is highly seasonal. I find the most successful and healthiest businesses are those whose owners and operators are passionate about what they do and who place a high value on the quality of their people.”
His aim, as a Tourism Business Advisor, is to add value to every business he works with. As well as conducting an independent evaluation, his goal is to enhance the growth of a business through the insights he brings from his 20 years of experience within the sector.