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Gap Year Five Finally Arrive

Date Published: 9 November 2009

The five contestants in the tourism promotion 'The Gap Year: Challenge New Zealand' arrived into Auckland on Saturday to start the ultimate online adventure.

The show is a partnership between Tourism New Zealand and leading entertainment production company Endemol UK, which will promote New Zealand as the ultimate destination for gap year travellers.

The online reality show is part of Tourism New Zealand's 'Go All The Way' campaign which launched in September and targets youth and gap year travellers from the UK and Europe.

The online reality show will see five young travellers battling it out on a series of extreme challenges over the next four weeks. Each weekday, they will post short videos and updates documenting their amazing adventures on The Gap Year homepages which currently have nearly 12,000 followers across Bebo, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and You Tube. Viewers will also be able to get actively involved with the show by interacting with the travellers and influencing their journey.

Whether underwater, in the air, or on land, the travellers will be pushed to their physical and mental limits. From taking on the world's largest bungy jump to getting wet and wild white water rafting, they must have nerves of steel and bags of determination to prove that they are the ultimate gap year traveller.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton says that for many younger people social media and peer recommendation had become an important channel for researching and choosing holiday destinations.

"'The Gap Year: Challenge New Zealand' will be an effective way of using online channels and social media to show people how exciting a trip to New Zealand can be," he says.

Every Friday, a traveller will be sent back to the UK leaving just two worthy finalists to battle it out during the concluding week. Both will be desperate to be crowned 'The Gap Year: Challenge New Zealand' winner, but who will have what it takes to go all the way?

Model Kimberley, student Anton, upcoming director Emma, male model Chris and show jumper Holly, who were selected from hundreds of applicants, arrived on Saturday and were welcomed into the country immediately with adrenalin-pumping activities around the Auckland Harbour area.

The four-week trip will include challenges in the Auckland, Northland, Rotorua, Wellington, Marlborough, West Coast, Milford Sounds and Queenstown regions.

According to the International Visitor Survey, New Zealand welcomed 183,063 backpackers - those defined as spending over 30 per cent of their stay in backpacker accommodation - in the year to September 2009, up 6 per cent from one year ago. This compares with an overall decline in arrivals of 1.8 per cent to 2.41 million in the year to September 2009.

For more information please contact:
Cas Carter - 021 915 410

The Gap Year Challenge can be followed on:
www.bebo.com/thegapyear; www.facebook.com/thegapyear; www.twitter.com/thegapyear; www.youtube.com/thegapyear; www.myspace.com/thegapyear