$7m tourism campaign pitches to UK visitors


Tourism New Zealand will launch its biggest ever British marketing campaign next month in a bid to stem the fall in visitor numbers from our second largest tourism market.

The $7.3 million campaign is $2 million up on previous years and will feature a series of eight 40-second TV commercials. The ads, shot in New Zealand, feature British tourists describing what they enjoyed about being here.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said the campaign was designed to counter a 3 per cent lag in British tourists last year as well as helping New Zealand to compete against other destinations such as South America and South Africa.

“Our aim is to take and hold summer peak numbers at the same level as last year – because that is so important to New Zealand tourism. We will measure our success if we are able to maintain numbers.”

Around 290,000 visitors from the United Kingdom come to New Zealand each year.

Hickton said the decision to film British tourists in New Zealand was based on research.

“Because we don’t have an iconic thing – like Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – the real thing that made people change their minds was that they have been told about it.”

The advertisements feature tourists here on holiday in July. They are not actors and have not been paid to talk on camera. The ads will appear from September 7 and run for around a month with a second showing in February next year.

The spending boost on the British campaign will also come at a cost to other markets. Hickton said the extra money spent on the UK campaign meant it have to would spend less on marketing in Japan and the US where visitor numbers are also declining.

The British campaign is almost on par with the amount spent on targeting Australians – New Zealand’s top market – and is slightly more than the $7 million the country will spend on marketing to the Chinese this year.

Paul Davis, head of the regional tourism organisation for Nelson and Tasman, said as the UK already had high awareness levels of New Zealand the message was more likely to make a difference there than anywhere else.