Thursday 2 September
Steve Bloser – USA – pre-recorded, live Q&A
Director; Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies Larson Transportation Institute, Penn State University
DSA surface aggregate for unpaved roads
The Penn State University Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies (Center) has provided education, training, and technical assistance to local public road owning entities throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the past twenty years. Funded by the PA Dirt, Gravel, and Low Volume Road Program, the Center focuses on practices and projects that make environmental improvements while also reducing long term road maintenance needs and costs. The goal of many of the Centers practices are to create a more environmentally and economically sustainable rural road system.
Friday 3 September
Railways, Golf carts and a vision – Ian Balme shares his story
When farmer Ian Balme told people he was going to start a travel attraction in central North Island, running golf carts on the unused railway line between Stratford and Taumarunui, they scoffed. Nine years later, that travel attraction – Forgotten World Adventures – now includes tours by rail cart, jet boat and helicopter. It attracts over 9000 visitors a year, 75% Kiwis and 25% international tourists.
As a horizontal integration, Ian opened the Forgotten World Adventures Motel, giving visitors an accommodation option that encouraged them to stay longer in the area. Today, Forgotten World Adventures employs around 35 seasonal staff and in 2019, the popular attraction won the New Zealand Tourism Awards People’s Choice category for the second year in a row.
It’s fair to say that those who initially scoffed at Ian’s idea may now have a different view. Through vision, innovation, and sheer determination, Ian Balme has turned his far-fetched idea into a leading tourist attraction.
Aware that people are interested in his business journey and how he created a successful travel attraction in just a few years, Ian now travels the country, talking to groups and sharing his story.