For the year-ending December 2012, Australia accounted for almost half of international arrivals to New Zealand with close to 1.2 million Australians coming here on holiday, to visit family and relatives (VFR) or on business. These visitors injected a total of $1.6 billion into the economy.
While in 2012 we saw a significant increase in VFR arrivals, holiday arrivals - with their higher average spend and tendency to travel more widely and to do more activities - are where the value lie. For the same period, almost 434,000 came here on holiday; staying a total of 4.8 million days and spending around $825 million - almost double that of VFR arrivals.
Maintaining growth in holiday arrivals is a core focus of our marketing activity. Research tells us that a significant per cent (60.4) of 2012's holiday arrivals were repeat visitors. By targeting first time visitors we know there is a strong opportunity for repeat visitation.
This year we are building on activity that we know delivered results towards holiday visitation, running two major campaigns for a second time.
The South Island Road Trip, promoting a 'self-drive' holiday, is our first major campaign for 2013. Australian travellers across target segments responded well to last year's campaign which resulted in more than 43,000 referrals to travel sellers.
The accessibility and range of experiences and attractions available on a road trip of the South Island will again be demonstrated, with the travel style helping to increase their length of stay and the number of regions visited. With a co-ordinated, consumer driven approach our work with multiple regional and commercial partners was a key factor for the success of the first campaign.
Our second major campaign - Ski 2013 - will also follow in the footsteps of last year's theme, 'More in every day'. While the finer details are still being developed for a late March launch, the campaign will again promote the accessibility of a New Zealand ski holiday and the variety of activities and experiences that can be enjoyed. One feature of the work this year will be a new ski television commercial which was filmed in 2012 and has advanced the theme to 'More magic in every day'.
We will undertake a range of activity in 2013 to maximise the value from this key market. We will attend key trade shows in Australia, maintain a presence in the media with PR work and bring some 300 Australian agents to New Zealand in May in partnership with Emirates. We will keep you informed throughout the year - don't forget to keep an eye on www.tourismnewzealand.com for regular updates.
First published in Tourism Business: Feb-March issue 2013