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The Bachelor shows America the romantic side of NZ

New Zealand has been profiled across the US as the ultimate romantic, luxury destination just days ahead of Valentine's Day thanks to the hit prime-time TV series,The Bachelor.

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The Bachelor in Rotorua - image courtesy of NZK Productions

Last night the Central North Island took centre stage as the setting for romance as episode six of the reality show filmed entirely in New Zealand aired across America on major US network ABC.

Filming took place in October 2013, and was secured through Tourism New Zealand's (TNZ) International Media Programme (IMP).

The episode reached an initial captive audience of 7.8 million US viewers.

The New Zealand episode of the show, now in its 18th season, saw The Bachelor, Juan Pablo Galavis, and the final eight ladies experience a week of adventure, romance and luxury throughout the region.

Gregg Anderson, TNZ GM Americas and Europe, says that the show's timing couldn't be better as the organisation works to continue to leverage the current high awareness of New Zealand following the recent release of the second movie in the Hobbit Trilogy.

"The show provides extensive, high-profile coverage and exposure of New Zealand to excite and motivate our target market to travel here - much greater than we can achieve through campaign activity alone.

"Furthermore, The Bachelor perfectly supports our activity to target visitors looking for a romantic holiday - profiling New Zealand as the perfect location for a romantic getaway, wedding or honeymoon."

The show was supported by a number of regional tourism organisations Destination Lake Taupo, Destination Rotorua and Hamilton and Waikato Tourism. Many tourism operators also assisted, with contestants taking part in a wide range of activities, including; jet boating, the OGO, Te Puia in Rotorua as well as visiting the picturesque landscape setting of Hobbiton.

The cast and crew also got to experience luxury accommodation staying at Huka Lodge and Hilton Lake Taupo and visiting Poronui Lodge.

"Being able to showcase the premium experiences and product that is available throughout the region is fantastic as we increase our activity to engage with the lucrative premium travel sector," says Gregg.

Huka Lodge, where the female contestants stayed, were also thrilled with the opportunity.

Louise Smythe, Director of Sales & Marketing for The Huka Retreats says, "Huka Lodge has been welcoming global travellers in search of romance and adventure since 1924, so we embraced the opportunity to work with Tourism New Zealand to promote our property and its beautiful surrounding region to the US market through the vast audience of The Bachelor."

Host Chris Harrison said he enjoyed returning to New Zealand, after the show previously filmed season 13's final two episodes in Queenstown and the Bay of Islands in 2009.

"It was great coming back," he says. "The North Island was spectacular and I got to experience some amazing fly-fishing."

Juan Pablo Galavis was also mesmerised by the picturesque scenery. "From the moment I arrived in New Zealand I was blown away by how beautiful it was," says Galavis.

TNZ is now leveraging this latest exposure in the US, with a raft of activity underway across online and social media channels.

Contact Leah McNeil, Senior Communications Advisor, Tourism New Zealand
leah.mcneil@tnz.govt.nz; phone +64 21 843 896

About Tourism New Zealand's International Media Programme: Tourism New Zealand supports relevant broadcast productions, including reality TV shows, from key markets under its International Media programme as opportunities arise and are secured. Tourism New Zealand partners with local Regional Tourism Operators on all IMP activity to promote the region and local tourism products wherever possible to maximise the benefit and exposure of New Zealand.

About The Bachelor: On ABC's hit primetime reality series The Bachelor, one lucky man is offered the chance to find true love. A single and eligible Bachelor embarks on a romantic journey, getting to know a number of beautiful women, gradually narrowing the field as he continues his search for his soul mate. At the end of this romantic voyage, if he has found the one, will there be a proposal - and will she say yes? Hosted by Chris Harrison, The Bachelor is produced by Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television. When Juan Pablo Galavis, a former professional soccer player from Venezuela, stepped out of the limo last season to meet Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock, he also stepped into the hearts of female fans across the country, women who were taken with his sincerity, easy-going charm and good looks. The dashing single dad, very devoted to his young daughter, Camila, was ready to find love. Despite failing to win Desiree's heart, Juan Pablo became one of the most talked-about men of the season; now, he is back with his own chance to find the love of his life and a wife - as well as a stepmother to his daughter - from among 27 beautiful bachelorettes. Follow Juan Pablo's search for his soul mate in the 18th edition of The Bachelor Mondays (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on ABC. For more information on The Bachelor, visit http://abc.go.com/shows/the-bachelor.