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Australian travel agents learn about NZ’s hidden gems

In a first for Australia, 600 frontline travel agents have taken part in a series of events across the country, learning how to sell New Zealand’s hidden gems.

In a complete change of format and style from recent years, Tourism New Zealand ran the NZ All-Stars road show events in four Australian cities, rather than bringing the agents to New Zealand for training.  

Tourism New Zealand worked in partnership with Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, and 18 Regional Tourism Organisations to deliver the training events in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, 19- 22 June.

Tony Saunders, Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager, Australia said: “Historically we have trained travel agents in market with online training modules, or face-to-face sessions with smaller groups.

“However this year we wanted to develop a unique training format that would create significant impact and noise in market, while educating agents about the many hidden gems of New Zealand to support them in developing richer itineraries.

“To promote our regional dispersal work, the events showcased a variety of lesser known regions and travel distances, touring highways, and travel recommendations were also highlighted,” said Tony.

To attract quality travel agents to the events, they had to qualify by completing a Tourism New Zealand training module and sell an Alliance ticket (Air New Zealand or Virgin Australia).

The events brought a fresh approach to the training format. Regions across New Zealand came to life with interactive displays and experiences designed to inspire and educate. The roadshow also featured a display for cycling in New Zealand where agents learned about the diversity of trails around the country.

Travel agents were welcomed by a Kapa Haka performance and a tongue and cheek safety demonstration by the Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand crew. TNZ ‘tourism guides’ then escorted the agents around the different regions represented at the venue.

Each region had displays designed to showcase ‘hidden gems’ such as the Jaffa Race in Dunedin or White Island in Bay of Plenty. The RTO representatives then provided travel agents with the key selling points of their region.

There was added appeal to the events with agents given the opportunity to win prizes locked in suitcases by entering a ‘code’ they were given when registering for the event. Agents also had the chance to win an Avanti bicycle and a trip for two to New Zealand.

The RTOs taking part were: Northland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Hamilton and Waikato, Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Ruapehu,  Wellington, Marlborough, Nelson, Kaikoura, Christchurch and Canterbury, West Coast, Queenstown, Waitaki, Dunedin and Southland

Australia is New Zealand's largest inbound tourism market, accounting for almost half of all visitors. Nearly 600k AU visitors come to New Zealand each year for a holiday.