Industry Leaders Advisory Group

Regenerative Tourism by 2030: Destination Queenstown, Lake Wānaka Tourism & QLDC

dq logo2    QLDC logo   Lake Wanaka Tourism logo

An independent Industry Leaders Advisory Group has been established to oversee the development of the regenerative tourism plan, from planning to implementation.

Members of the group will contribute their knowledge and insights into the way our local communities and the visitor economy work and help test, refine and improve the design and implementation of the planning process. They will also engage with their own communities and networks, sharing relevant feedback back to the group to help improve the process.

The Group includes key industry representatives, Bridget Legnavsky, Henry van Asch, Mandy Bell, Richard Thomas and Adam Smith. These leaders have been selected on the basis that they:

  • Have a solid understanding of the Queenstown Lakes district community
  • Are recognised business leaders in the district
  • Understand the diversity of the district’s visitor economy
  • Represent both small and large business perspectives
  • Understand the ambitions of the project and want to see it succeed.

The group will remain in place beyond the planning process and into the implementation phase to provide continuity and support the execution of the plan.


Member backgrounds and expertise

Bridget Legnavsky

Bridget has many years of experience in the leisure, travel and tourism industry. She is currently the General Manager of Cardrona and Treble Cone ski resorts and will be transitioning to Wayfare’s Chief Experience Officer in August this year.

Bridget has deep community and business ties and her current roles outside of her day job include chairing the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s independent, multi-disciplinary Climate Reference Group as well as being a member of MBIE’s Interim Regional Skills Leadership Group, an Executive Committee Member of Ski Areas Association of NZ (SAANZ), and a Mt Aspiring College Board Trustee.  She is also the former Chair of Ignite Wānaka.

Bridget’s key skillsets include sustainable practice, management, strategic planning, event management, and business development. She holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Otago.

Henry van Asch

An internationally recognised tourism entrepreneur, co-founder and managing director of AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand, Henry has made a career out of challenging himself and others in fun and innovative ways.

After launching the world’s first commercial bungy operation in Queenstown in 1988 with AJ Hackett, Henry has continued to take his businesses to new heights by developing unique experiences and world-leading safety practices.

A former New Zealand downhill mountain bike champion, Henry is also considered New Zealand’s first ever heli-biker and still gets out on the trails as often as he can. He has deep ties in the community and is a strong supporter of various youth and charitable initiatives. Most recently, he and BungyNZ were instrumental in leading the establishment of a ‘workforce alliance’ initiative with local businesses looking to retain/redeploy core staff impacted by COVID-19. This alliance also partnered with the ‘In the Wild’ Working Group to deliver nature-based projects around Queenstown.

Amanda Bell

Amanda is an experienced director, business owner and entrepreneur in the primary sector, veterinary and tourism industries.

She has particular expertise in One Health, the optimal integrated health of water, environment, animals and people. She is also well versed in transformational change, including vision and policy, engagement and action to deliver innovative and collaborative solutions to businesses and communities.

Amanda is the co-owner of Criffel Station, a 2000ha deer farm and tourism business in Wanaka, and is a qualified vet and Nature-based Solutions farming expert. She is the co-founder and Chairperson of WAI Wanaka; a member of Passion 2 Profit Deer Industry; and former Board Trustee for WAO (We Are One Wānaka Summit).

Amanda’s academic and professional background include a doctoral degree in veterinary science, advanced management studies at Melbourne Business School, governance courses and directorships. Throughout her work and leadership roles, Amanda utilises a future-thinking approach which entails looking forwards 30 to 50 years, working through shared visions, then back casting to today. It is Amanda’s belief that it’s necessary to understand what we know, what we don’t know, the gaps in the science and data, before working with relevant stakeholders to create a roadmap to deliver on the long-term vision.

Richard Thomas

Born and bred in Queenstown, Richard has been heavily involved in the Queenstown Lakes business community for many years, offering expertise in governance, media, marketing, branding, and tourism.

Well known as the former publisher of Mountain Scene newspaper, Richard now spends most of his time as a professional director.  He is the current Chair of Destination Queenstown, Director of Skyline Enterprises, Director and Chair of a number of Skyline’s International Luge subsidiaries, a Director of the USX, a Director of Bookme, and is on the board of Snow Sports New Zealand.

Richard’s previous governance roles include being President of the New Zealand Community Newspapers Association; Independent Director and Chair of the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track; Director of Totally Tourism, and a board member, deputy Chair and Chair of Queenstown Chamber of Commerce.

Adam Smith

Adam is the Director of Treespace, an eco-developer and entrepreneur. He is also well known within the Queenstown Lakes community as the co-founder of the Sherwood.

For his latest venture, he has bought a mountain with the vision of creating a sustainable development filled with eco-friendly homes and surrounded by forest. 

The Mt Dewar Station development is set to become the country's first largest commercially-funded native tree planting project. More than 140,000 native beech trees will be planted, supported by the sale of 53 house sections which will only occupy 0.1 per cent of the land.  There will also be space for public access and enjoyment, with more than 50km of biking and hiking trails.

Kaitiakitanga (the Maori philosophy of guardianship) and showing respect for our natural environment and landscape, combined with Manaakitanga, showing respect and generosity towards others, are fundamental to his personal and business philosophy.