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Smaller events packing a big punch – The Ultimate Waterman, Volvo Ocean Race and Crankworx

As the 2015 Cricket World Cup draws to a close, some smaller - but nonetheless adrenaline-packed - events are shining a spotlight on New Zealand.

From tow-in surfing to slopestyle mountain biking - the Ultimate Waterman, Volvo Ocean Race and Crankworx are providing Tourism New Zealand with ample opportunities to continue to leverage New Zealand's appeal as a visitor destination overseas.

Smaller events packing a big punch – The Ultimate Waterman, Volvo Ocean Race and Crankworx.jpg

A rider taking to the tracks in Rotorua. Photo credit: Derek Morrison

While these comparatively smaller scale events might not receive the same level of global attention as mega sporting events, they still present money-can't-buy opportunities to gain media coverage for New Zealand on the international stage, says Rebecca Ingram, Tourism New Zealand's GM - PR & Major Events.

"Events like these attract a very strong niche following. Especially in the case of The Ultimate Waterman and Crankworx, the audience mainly consists of younger travellers and those visiting with a specific sport in mind, to whom New Zealand appeals as the ultimate adventure playground.

"The outdoor nature of these competitions doesn't only offer the chance to show off the diversity of New Zealand landscapes and sporting activities on offer here through international media coverage - they also attract admired and influential athletes, who go on to tell the story of New Zealand to their international fans.

"Our role is to work with targeted media outlets and influencers in attendance, to support them to spread the word in our key target markets that New Zealand is not only a great place to hold sporting events, but also a unique and exciting holiday destination."

The Ultimate Waterman is a multi-discipline watersports event, held around New Zealand from 14-21 March. It attracted some of the biggest 'waterman' names in the world and Laird Hamilton, internationally renowned big wave surfer and extreme sports star, was ambassador to the event.

As the contestants battled it out in big swell, Tourism New Zealand was working alongside Redbull TV to showcase New Zealand as a playground for the adventurous traveller.

Promotional activity included producing a short video which showcased the diversity of New Zealand's coastline and watersport products, with the aim to inspire viewers to "take a trip around New Zealand with the Ultimate Waterman".

While these comparatively smaller scale events might not receive the same level of global attention as mega sporting events, they still present money-can't-buy opportunities to gain media coverage for New Zealand on the international stage

Rebecca Ingram, Tourism New Zealand's GM - PR & Major Events

Tourism New Zealand also worked closely with media partner Redbull Media House to incorporate key tourism messages into a one-hour documentary covering the event, incorporating stunning coverage of New Zealand's coastline and promoting the idea of "two oceans in two hours - i.e. wherever they are in New Zealand, travellers are never far from the water. 

Delayed by Cyclone Pam for several days, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet finally set sail from Auckland to Itajaí, Brazil last Tuesday. While the teams were in port for their Auckland stopover, Tourism New Zealand made the most of the opportunity to make the most of visiting media and provide video content for Volvo Ocean Race communications channels.

But it's not just New Zealand's coastline being broadcast to the world, further inland its forests are getting a spot on the global stage as well. From 25-29 March, Rotorua's trails will be taken over by the world's top riders as they line up to compete in Crankworx, the world's biggest mountain bike festival, held for the first time here in New Zealand.

Crankworx is expected to attract up to 15,000 spectators and 750 riders (around 80% internationals) will attend the event. While 130 media accreditations have also been received. 

During the festival, Tourism New Zealand will be supporting international media to showcase Rotorua, and New Zealand more broadly, as a world class mountain biking destination.

Pinkbike.com - official online media sponsor for Crankworx and Redbull TV distribution platform -will be capturing content with Tourism New Zealand's support in Rotorua, Queenstown, Wanaka and Central Otago. Pinkbike.com is the world's most trafficked online mountain bike news and media source, receiving 3 million unique views per month, mainly out of the US and Europe.

In addition, the Emmy award-winning US TV series NBC World of Adventure is in New Zealand to produce a one-hour show on Crankworx, also featuring The Ultimate Waterman and Volvo Ocean Race. The series airs on NBC, NBCSN and Outside TV and is distributed across a digital network with a potential viewership of 800,000.

This activity ties in with Tourism New Zealand's strategy to promote cycling in New Zealand in its key target markets of Australia and the US - which, alongside the UK, contribute the largest volume of cycle tourists to New Zealand each year. Cycle tourists stay longer and spend more during their visit compared with other holidaymakers - for the year ending December 2014, the average spend for cycling visitors was NZD $3,900 vs. $2,900 for other visitors.

"There is an increasingly close alignment between our Major Events work and Special Interest marketing objectives - particularly in the areas of youth, cycling and golf," says Rebecca.

"By leveraging an event like Crankworx, we aim to spur on those dreaming of a mountain biking holiday in New Zealand to take the next step and start planning a trip."