Tourism New Zealand unveiled its first global campaign since 2019, If You Seek, during the Kiwi Link Asia gala dinner held in Singapore last Tuesday.
The campaign builds destination desire by beckoning curious travellers to New Zealand, promising to enrich their experiences through extraordinary travel. If You Seek wants international visitors to not only be mindful of, but also embrace Māori values and traditions.
As part of the new campaign, Tourism New Zealand curated itineraries for those inquisitive enough to look deeper and go a little further to discover more authentic, meaningful connections.
Campaign materials include 18 short videos featuring New Zealanders experiencing Aoteroa’s local culture, generosity and natural beauty. They feature locations such as Bay of Plenty’s Whakatāne, a town with rich Māori history; Hooker Valley near Aoraki/Mt Cook, the highest mountain in the country; and the green hills of Waitomo.
After Singapore, If You Seek was rolled out in Japan and South Korea on September 1, and upcoming will be India on September 8. Prior to this, the campaign debuted in China, Australia, Germany, the US and the UK, as well as the domestic market on August 19.
Sellers at Kiwi Link Asia shared that travel demand for New Zealand has not wavered one bit, as there is pent-up interest.
“The number one obstacle at the moment is connectivity, where scheduling is not as regular as it used to be, but that’s going to improve as we get closer towards the end of the year,” Lou Baddiley, manager, international markets, RotoruaNZ, told TTG Asia.
Singaporean travellers, Baddiley noticed, have been researching New Zealand’s beautiful nature and are often return visitors. Aside from Singapore, other medium-haul visitor markets New Zealand is courting include Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, and India; where “India is an emerging market with massive potential”.
Kiran Nambiar, business development director, Destination Queenstown, added: “Singapore has always been an amazing market for New Zealand, and it helps that the dollar is in Singapore’s favour. We’ve never had any challenges marketing New Zealand to Singaporeans, as demand has always been higher than the seat capacity, especially during the high season from October to February.
“The demand is strong, we just hope that the supply will return to pre-Covid levels and at some stage become higher (to help cope with travel demand).”
Another challenge that Nambiar faces is attracting more working holidaymakers/backpackers back to New Zealand, a crucial group that can quickly help rebuild Queenstown’s tourism infrastructure.
“There used to be about 6,000 available jobs in Queenstown that changed every three months. Aside from working holidaymakers filling service job positions, these visitors contribute to both the tourism economy and New Zealand GDP,” Nambiar said.
When these working holidaymakers leave, fond memories of New Zealand will translate to a “lifetime value of visitors where they keep coming back”, pointed out Nambiar, who will in turn, become default ambassadors for the country.
For Patrick Dault, destination and tourism manager, Development West Coast, his challenge in selling New Zealand is different.
“For me it’s about regional dispersal. How do we get travellers to our regions, out of the well-established destinations of Christchurch and Queenstown?” he remarked.
The West Coast is eight per cent of New Zealand’s land mass, offering two million square kilometres of conservation land. It is all about exploring the outdoors and wildlife, enthused Dault, but they have to make sure that “visitors know what to expect”, such as the slower pace of tourism in these areas.
Baddiley concluded: “The key message is New Zealand is open, and we welcome and embrace the Singapore market. One thing the last two years has taught us is that we don’t know what’s around the corner. If you’ve already been to New Zealand, come on back – there’s a whole heap of new stuff that we’ve developed over the lockdowns.”