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PR assist - the quiet achiever

Gaining compelling, high-profile media coverage to motivate our target markets to travel to New Zealand is an essential part of our preference building activity, and the main aim of our PR teams.

Our PR activity concentrates on what we call 'top of the funnel' activity, developing engaging messaging aimed at inspiring people to choose New Zealand as their next holiday destination. To ensure the most compelling and appealing message of New Zealand gets delivered to the right audience our public relations activity focuses on two major pieces of work.

The first piece is our International Media Programme (IMP), which hosts around 250 journalists in New Zealand each year from print, online and broadcast organisations. A recent example can be seen on Getaway, which is Australia's longest-running and most popular holiday and travel programme.

While IMP generally receives all the accolades for high-profile work such as this, seeding quality international media coverage is an incredibly important element of our PR work and one we're concentrating on more heavily in the coming year.

This element of work is called PR assist and is about pitching in stories, content or imagery about destination New Zealand which can be picked up and used by international media publications.

Our offshore PR teams regularly issue Tourism New Zealand generated press releases which provide story angles and content ideas, as well as working closely with media outlets for opportunities to feed in New Zealand content.

PR assist is the quiet achiever in our PR activity. We have a target to generate NZD $40 million worth of PR assist coverage in the current financial year and are on track to achieve this, having made a stellar start at the end of quarter one -a result of stories being syndicated widely across key markets.

Two recent examples of our work in this area include feature articles in two of the US's top publications, the New York Times and the New York Magazine - neither of which accept paid press trips. The New York Magazine's feature 'The Beachist' included the Coromandel amongst six winter travel beach destinations in October, reaching almost half a million local readers.

In the same month the New York Times reached more than two million national readers with its feature 'New Zealand for Beginners', which covered winter travel in Wanaka on the front page of the travel section plus a double page spread in the middle.

This stunning result stemmed from an opportunity our media team grabbed when assisting a visiting US sports writer, who was in New Zealand to interview US Winter Olympic athletes training at Cardrona, by providing enough information to inspire a second story.

This coverage combined is estimated at over NZD $800,000, and when considered alongside the minimal level of investment required by Tourism New Zealand, the value of it is hard to look past.

Tourism New Zealand's media website is a site specifically for international media packed with resources including story ideas, news, events, images and videos. Foreign languages versions are available in Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

It has recently had a refresh, with its look and feel being brought in line with our suite of websites. Written content on the site can now be easily shared and edited, while hi-res images are available by download ensuring destination New Zealand information is easily at the fingertips of media across the globe.

Our PR team is always looking for quality story ideas and content and value the ideas and content provided by regional tourism operators and operators. Make sure email us at media@tnz.govt.nz if you have a great story to share.

Justin Watson

Director of Trade, PR and Major Events