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Promoting New Zealand as a cycling destination – gearing up for 2015

Sunshine, live music and 25,000 cycle enthusiasts - last weekend's GO Bike Expo in Melbourne provided the perfect opportunity to promote New Zealand as a unique cycling destination to a receptive Australian audience.

Promoting New Zealand as a cycling destination – gearing up for 2015.jpg

Tourism New Zealand exhibited at the cycling consumer show, which was held at the finish line of Bupa Around the Bays, alongside nine RTOs and cycling operators from all over New Zealand.

Justin Watson, Tourism New Zealand's Director of Trade, PR and Major Events says that the organisation's attendance at GO Bike Expo and other cycling trade and consumer shows reflects its wider strategy to actively target the international cycling sector as part of its focus on special interest activities, which have the potential to deliver increased value to the country's tourism industry.

As with other special interest sectors, cycle tourists stay longer and spend more during their visit compared with other holidaymakers.

"Interest in cycling is significant across western markets, with Australia, UK and USA providing the largest volumes of cycle tourists to New Zealand each year.

"Our research shows that 81 per cent in Australia and 84 per cent of American active considerers, are looking for a cycling-based holiday, with New Zealand on their shortlist as a cycling destination."

In order to target these active considerers and inspire them to make New Zealand their number one holiday destination choice, Tourism New Zealand kick-started its campaign activity last year following the completion of Nga Haeranga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail Network.

81% in Australia and 84 per cent of American active considerers, are looking for a cycling-based holiday

Catering to both recreational cyclists and passionate mountain bikers, the trail network offers 23 'Great Rides' which explore the best that New Zealand landscapes have to offer - from the subtropical forests of the far North to the sweeping alpine vistas of Southland.

"The trail network provided a great platform from which to bring New Zealand to life as a cycling destination and we have exciting plans for the US and Australian markets during the coming months, across our trade, International Media Programme (IMP) and PR teams."

In the IMP space, TNZ has partnered with Australian Geographic Outdoor to showcase New Zealand's cycle trails in their November/December issue. With a readership of over 750,000, the publication will include a nine-page "Mountains to Sea" cycle trail feature, a New Zealand-themed front cover and the creation of a 32-page tip-on guide on New Zealand's 23 Great Rides.

Hosting international media during high-profile cycling events such as the annual Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge and Crankworx - the world's largest mountain bike festival which is coming to Rotorua in 2015 - also provide the opportunity to promote New Zealand's diverse potential for cycling holidays on the international stage. 

Third party recommendation remains one of the most influential factors in helping people make travel decisions, and when endorsement comes from popular and appealing influencers, the impact is even stronger.

With this in mind, Tourism New Zealand is working with Phil Keoghan, a New Zealand-born celebrity and host of 'The Amazing Race' on its 2015 campaign for the USA. It will run from February to April next year and will focus on raising awareness of the New Zealand Cycle Trail Network, with Phil as the face of the campaign.

Further activity to boost awareness of New Zealand's great cycling offering internationally includes the development of marketing assets such as still imagery and moving footage for use in international campaigns, as well as adding to the cycling & mountain biking hub on newzealand.com over the next year to include more cycling images, footage and promotional articles.

The organisation's continued push into the US and Australian markets comes off the back of some strong results from last year's activity.

It was a busy year that included cycling campaigns in both Australia and the US, attendance at Cycling Australia's Bike & Lifestyle Show in October 2013, as well as a cycling and hiking famil in November 2013.

Further promotion launched last year included a new cycling hub on newzealand.com, complete with inspiring new videos showcasing the Otago Central Rail, Hawke's Bay, Timber and Hauraki Rail cycle trails.

Cross-channel campaign activity in both the Australian and UK markets led to an equivalent advertising spend of approximately NZD $1.4 million.

New Zealand featured in the Australian travel TV series Places We Go and an Australian travel magazine feature in Escape - all of which helped drive Australians' preference for a cycling holiday in New Zealand, up 36 per cent to an incredible 95 per cent.

Says Justin: "We had some good success year last year and we look forward to building on these results in 2015.

"The combination of strong international interest in New Zealand as a cycling destination and the continued development of the country's trail networks provides the perfect opportunity for us to promote New Zealand as a unique and viable cycling destination."

Read more about our special interest mountain biking and cycling activity.