International community shows support for New Zealand tourism after Christchurch shootings

Mount Cook, New Zealand

Barely two months after the Christchurch shootings, Tourism New Zealand has seen no impact on visitor arrivals and is resuming destination marketing activities.

The destination last week successfully hosted its biggest tourism event Trenz, with bigger buyers turnout than last year.

Mount Cook, New Zealand

Steven Dixon, regional manager – South and South East Asia of Tourism New Zealand, commented: “The way the community showed their solidarity was quite humbling and the incident has not impacted arrivals. In some markets like the US, we have seen a massive increase in people wanting to come and live in New Zealand (as a result of how the community here was portrayed) and the overwhelming support of the New Zealand Muslim community.

“Out of respect for the victims and their families, we initially pulled all our advertising globally. (After) listening to the market and stakeholders, we then we made the decision in some markets to turn advertising back on at various levels, although some channels are not yet turned on, such as Facebook. We will make decision on that in the near future.”

A number of sellers and buyers TTG Asia spoke to at Trenz last week also said businesses was not affected, attributing this to the prompt response by the New Zealand government and people.

Rudy Techrisna, managing director of Multi Holiday Travel Indonesia, said: “I did not see any negative impact, especially after how the local community reacted to the incident. (Travellers) think it was (an isolated incident).”

Peter Davies, general manager of Anzcrow New Zealand, said: “I heard of no cancellations whatsoever following the incident.” On the contrary, travellers were showing their sympathies and solidarity, and continuing to travel to the country, according to Davies.

For Sophie Walker, director of Connect NZ Tourism, a marketing company for a group of New Zealand inbound travel companies, there were “probably some cancellations or change of travel plans” but these were short-term.

What stood out to her was how the nation’s prime minister acted in the aftermath, including through her efforts to reach out to the media and disseminate key information and updates.

“The response from the media and industry was amazing and really focused on the positive things that came out of (the incident) and showing that New Zealand is truly a (harmonious) multi-cultural destination.”

Praising the way the tourism stakeholders responded to the situation, Walker added: “Right after the incident, Tourism New Zealand and the Tourism Industry of Aotaerea sent out information to businesses on what they can do to mitigate a negative event like that. They flooded the media with positive stories that are happening in the industry to squash the bad news.”

Asked what the rest of the world can learn from New Zealand under such circumstances, Dixon said: “I don’t think it is a situation that anyone can prepare for. We never imagined that this was something that could happen anywhere in the world let alone in New Zealand. But the reality is now that can happen anywhere.

“I believe the way that the government moved swiftly and the way that we are transparent (helped), (and also retained support from) the international Muslim community.”

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