Blue Mountains Tourism has engaged a marketing manager to develop and roll out a strategic marketing plan to lure visitors back to the region after lockdown and drive the visitor economy back to pre-pandemic levels and higher. Colleen Kanzora has international experience promoting Broadway shows, Cirque du Soleil, music, art and major events. ``I have long loved visiting the Blue Mountains and can’t wait to meet tourism businesses and explore the amazing landscape,’’ she said. ``The Blue Mountains holds a special place in my heart as one of my favourite destinations. ``I’m so thrilled to be a key part of bringing tourism back to the Blue Mountains, by creating and highlighting unique, quality experiences for all future visitors and supporting local businesses.’’ Ms Kanzora’s engagement is the first step for Blue Mountains Tourism towards investing the $2.6 million Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Funding announced in July. Jointly funded by the Federal and State governments, the grant was announced in July and will involve destination branding, marketing, website development, major events, industry communications and a business resilience program. BMT will deliver the project in partnership with Blue Mountains City Council, which will deliver the industry development and branding component. As the leading tourism authority in the region, BMT will administer and manage the Blue Mountains Visitor Economy Revitalisation Project, a two-year destination management program that will reinstate the Blue Mountains as a key tourist destination in NSW and Australia. Blue Mountains Tourism president Jason Cronshaw welcomed Ms Kanzora: ``The Blue Mountains has not had a destination marketing manager since 2014, so this is an exciting step for the region in re-establishing its rightful place as one of the most recognisable locations on Earth. ``We have lots of work ahead, but Colleen comes with outstanding credentials and experience so I’m confident that the Blue Mountains will again soon be a must-see destination for domestic and international travellers.’’ Beginning her marketing career at Price Waterhouse Coopers in Chicago in 1996, Ms Kanzora most recently promoted Cirque du Soleil's KURIOS Australian tour and the Van Gogh Alive exhibition in Sydney in 2020. Before that, she promoted the King Kong musical on Broadway, Moulin Rouge! the Musical world premiere in Boston and on Broadway and Muriel's Wedding the Musical Australian tour. She also promoted EMPIRE North American Tour, Radio City Christmas Spectacular in Madison Square Garden, and 10 productions for Blue Man Group in New York City promoting shows in America, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Berlin, Tokyo and other global locations. As well as meeting local tourism businesses and exploring the region, one of Ms Kanzora’s first tasks will be to plan two major events, the first of which will probably be held in 2022.
She encouraged local tourism businesses to become involved by offering ideas at an upcoming workshop. ``We start with a clean slate, so everyone’s ideas are valid. After being in lockdown for so long, our visitors will be super excited to come out and interact with our region.’’ In the meantime, tourism businesses are encouraged to request to join the Blue Mountains Tourism Industry group on Facebook and sign up to the BMT industry newsletter (send a request to email@example.com).