Tourism New Zealand has unveiled plans to make Aotearoa “stand out from the crowd” as it competes against intense international competition for a drastically diminished pool of tourists.
The national tourism body says moves to help alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 are “well underway” following the announcement of a $10 million grant from the government earlier this month.
While visitor arrivals have softened from Japan, South Korea and other parts of Asia, the Australian and US markets are so far holding up in the face of the coronavirus threat.
“We’ve carefully considered where increased activity from us will have the most impact on short and medium-term visitor growth,” said chief executive Stephen England-Hall.
“It’s incredibly competitive on the world stage right now with all destination marketers competing for visitors.
“We have some exciting and innovative work planned alongside key partners to help us stand out from the crowd so we are ready to give it a good go.”
Short-term activity includes a heavy focus on Australia, identified as the market with the most opportunity to benefit Kiwi tourism during the upcoming shoulder season as COVID-19 continues to threaten international visitation.
TNZ says it will look to partner with the industry to help fund and coordinate a new campaign for Australia, including a ‘short break’ ad campaign partnering with airlines, airports and regions to generate May to November arrivals.
But its greatest short-term focus is Aussie skiers, with increased investment planned to widen the reach of its ‘This is how we winter’ ski campaign encouraging beginner skiers to learn on Kiwi slopes.
“Around 66 percent of the growing Australian ski market are beginner skiers seeking an easy and
accessible winter escape,” said England-Hall.
The campaign supports New Zealand’s four key ski regions of Ruapehu, Mt Hutt, Queenstown
and Wānaka,and features other winter experiences like dog sledding and après ski options considered likely to appeal to beginner skiers.
“Tourism New Zealand will work with our global digital media partners and direct to consumer channels to target people with content who are still keen to travel despite the current environment,” he said.
“Research suggests there are a number of people in this segment.”
The organisation is also looking at mid-term strategies to drive visitation in the next spring-summer season, including a focus on the UK’s post-Brexit travel market .
Increased activity in the North American market will build on new airline routes between Auckland and Dallas, Auckland and New York, and Christchurch and Los Angeles. TNZ will also look to cash in on recent US collaborations such as with The Late show with Stephen Colbert.
England-Hall says TNZ has not forgotten China and has plans to reinvest in the market “when the time is right”.
“While our plans are focused on growth from other markets, we very much look forward to renewing our activity in China and welcoming Chinese visitors back to New Zealand as soon as possible,” he said.