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Partnership delivers consumer voice to walk selection

The first significant announcement resulting from Tourism New Zealand’s strategy to work more closely with the Department of Conservation has been made by Tourism Minister Paula Bennett and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today.

Nineteen short and single-day walks across New Zealand have been selected as the first in a network of walks that will be promoted to New Zealanders and international visitors.  The selection of existing walks followed a research and consultation process.

Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) and the Department of Conservation (DOC) teamed up to deliver the project with the aim of delivering to visitor expectations and spreading the benefits of tourism across the country.

“It’s fantastic to see that consumer feedback from both international visitors and Kiwis was a key input into the walk selection – this helps deliver an experience that we know New Zealanders and our international visitors are looking for and will enjoy,” says Stephen England-Hall, Chief Executive Tourism New Zealand.

“We know that the single biggest driver of choosing a holiday destination is recommendation from friends and family. Ensuring we meet visitor needs so they act as brand ambassadors is essential to us remaining a desirable destination.”

“The walks are located across New Zealand and this really supports our strategy to encourage people into the regions and spread the many benefits that tourism delivers.”

Domestic and International tourism delivered over 34 billion to the economy last year (YE March 2016), significantly benefiting communities through visitor spend and employing one in eight New Zealanders.

Lou Sanson, Director-General, Department of Conservation says “DOC has good systems in place to design and manage visitor facilities (including over 14,000 km of tracks) in our great outdoors while protecting and promoting natural values.”

“This work is about grouping existing walks we recommend, to make selection easier for visitors. We want to use the research gathered to connect more people to our nature and provide experiences appropriate for their time, capabilities and expectations.”

TNZ utilised their visitor insights capabilities to run the research component of the project.

“The research showed that New Zealand is known for amazing walking experiences and that people want to experience a wider range of these, particularly shorter style walks.”

Results showed that New Zealand has a solid reputation as a walking destination with all markets researched ranking the country as a destination with great walking experiences. Short walks (3 hours or less) were of high interest across all markets with Germans showing more interest in day length walks.

“Research also revealed that people across the world including New Zealanders have similar considerations when selecting a walking track with fitness level required, scenery on offer and time important drivers.”

The results were used by DOC alongside a range of other factors against hundreds of existing walks to select a total of 19 short and day walks.

DOC and TNZ are now working on marketing activity to launch the walks domestically and internationally in October.

View an infographic about the walk research here:

For more information about the walks and to see the selected walk list see visit the Department of Conservation website.