7 months, 1000 applicants, $150,000+ salary, 1 hire – Forgotten World finally has a GM

Forgotten World Adventures at Taumarunui attracts around 6500 visitors per year. Image: FWA

It took seven months, the lure of a $150,000+ “Auckland salary” and, eventually, national media coverage that generated global attention, but Taumarunui’s Forgotten World Adventures has finally hired a general manager.

Tracey Goodall

Tracey Goodall, the current general manager of Auckland-based Haka Tourism Group, has won the race to the role, beating around 1,000 other applicants from as far as China, Dubai and the UK.

She starts the job in May, about 10 months after FWA first advertised the position as being based in the small King Country town but coming with “a very attractive Auckland salary”.

“We are bloody rapt to have her,” said FWA founder Ian Balme.

“When you get an applicant like Tracey Goodall – and we had some absolutely outstanding people apply – she is very hard to overlook. Her CV is outstanding and she comes from a year at Haka Tourism, a hugely successful company.”

Goodall, who hails from the UK and has also worked for Busabout, told the Ticker an important factor in leaving her Auckland role was being able to enjoy the outdoors lifestyle that would come with the Taumarunui position.

“I wasn’t in the job market but I wasn’t really enjoying living in the city so, when the role came along, it was one of those ones that I felt like I had to throw my hat in the ring,” she said.

“I felt I had the skills for it and it’s just the perfect place for me and my partner to live. We snowboard, we hike and mountain bike so the change of lifestyle was part of the decision. It’s going to be a chunky job and I’m really excited about getting started.”

Ian Balme

Her experience working in international markets, particularly in Asia, gave her an advantage as FWA looked to boost its overseas visitors this year, said Balme.

The business attracts around 6,500 customers per year of which around 1,300 are international visitors. The company wanted to boost its foreign market to 4,000 and domestic to 6,000 for a total of around 10,000 visitors per year.

“We have massive growth aspirations for our business and Tracey is the kind of person that will bring the skillset to open a lot of doors,” said Balme.

Former FWA general manager Paul Chaplow left the position last June to lead destination marketing at Whanganui & Partners. The company had initially struggled to get applicants after advertising the job in July.

“The role will be based in Taumarunui, a fantastic place if you love the outdoor adventure lifestyle,” stated the advert. “It’s a progressive region in revitalisation mode, with a great supportive community. The icing on the cake is we’re offering a very attractive Auckland salary, with the ability to earn healthy bonuses.”

That salary was $150,000+ and in November, after national media picked up the struggle to fill the role, FWA was flooded with applicants.

Balme said he had spent the past six weeks working through a shortlist of more than 200 applicants. Goodall’s appointment would finally allow him to take some time off.

Interest in the position also had an unforeseen benefit, he added.

“The great thing is that not only did we get about 1,000 applications as a result of the media exposure but we got 10,000 hits on our website in a week. That can’t be all bad.”

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