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North American travel editors shown the best of NZ

International accolades are rolling in from top US travel and lifestyle magazines after editors were given the opportunity to experience New Zealand at the Travel Classics writers' conference in May.

These editors are the gatekeepers of the most highly visible travel editorials in North America.

Justin Watson, Tourism New Zealand's Director of Trade, PR and Major Events says hosting the Travel Classics conference gave Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) the opportunity to gain the attention of 13 highly influential US opinion leaders and show them destination New Zealand.

"The 13 editors that attended the conference don't take paid-for trips, so could not have been hosted through our International Media Programme. Hosting the conference in New Zealand was a way to reach top publications in the US that could not have experienced New Zealand through existing Tourism New Zealand activity.

Significant media coverage is now being generated including a seven page feature in the September issue of Departures magazine, which has a circulation of over one million readers; a one page feature on Queenstown's Aro Ha Wellness Retreat in the July edition of Travel + Leisure (circulation 974,000) and two-pages in Canada's Globe and Mail (circulation: 132,000).

"This coverage alone is worth over NZD $1 million - and we're still waiting on a large number of results to go to print," says Justin.

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The event also presented TNZ with a great opportunity to showcase Maori culture throughout both the conference and pre and post famils, with the aim of reflecting the unique culture of New Zealand's people in the resulting stories. Plus it also provided TNZ the opportunity to show the US that New Zealand is more than just a film set.

In addition to experiencing Auckland attractions and accommodation during the Travel Classics conference, which was hosted by TNZ and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), the editors also experienced Air New Zealand's Business Premier service and TNZ-hosted famils around New Zealand.

The editors who visited New Zealand were from National Geographic Traveler, Travel + Leisure Digital, AFAR Media, Robb Report, Sunset, Cooking Light, Travel + Leisure, Outside, Bon Appetit, Departures, The Saturday Evening Post, Every Day with Rachel Ray and Food and Wine.

The United States is New Zealand's third largest visitor market with holiday arrivals for year-end August up 14.2 per cent