Amazing Race host is new face of NZ cycling in the US

Americans will be inspired to explore New Zealand on two wheels, thanks to a new partnership between Tourism New Zealand and Phil Keoghan.

Keoghan, well-known in both New Zealand and the US as host of hit TV show The Amazing Race, is fronting a new Tourism New Zealand campaign aimed at encouraging Americans to take a cycling holiday here. 

The native New Zealander is an avid cyclist and has just completed a 5,400-km ride to retrace the route of the first English-speaking team (including one Kiwi rider) in the Tour de France, soon to be released as a feature-length documentary.

Andrew Fraser, Tourism New Zealand's Director of Marketing, says that securing Keoghan as the face of the campaign, which launched in the US today, is a real coup.

"Phil doesn't just have a large following in the States as host of The Amazing Race - he is also a passionate cyclist and proud Kiwi, and therefore the ideal person to be encouraging Americans to make New Zealand their next holiday destination.

"The campaign that went live today is Phil's first engagement and promotes New Zealand's diverse and breathtaking cycling landscapes and extensive trail network.

"Our research shows that there is a large section of the US market actively considering a cycling trip to New Zealand. With promotion from someone as popular as Phil Keoghan, we aim to motivate those dreaming of a cycling holiday in New Zealand to take the next step and make the booking," says Andrew. 

The campaign, shot on the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail and the Queenstown Trail, will showcase New Zealand as the ideal destination for a cycling holiday. Both trails belong to the easily accessible New Zealand Cycle Trail Network, which has provided Tourism New Zealand with a platform from which to bring the country to life as an exciting cycling destination overseas. 

"The breadth of the trail network - which spans the length of New Zealand - and the fact that cycle tourists often stay late into March aligns perfectly with our goal to grow shoulder season travel and wider regional spread of visitors," says Andrew.

The partnership is a natural fit for Keoghan, who says he is "thrilled to work with Tourism New Zealand to help showcase New Zealand's diverse cycling opportunities to Americans."

"You don't need to be an experienced athlete to take advantage of cycling in New Zealand, there's a range of cycle trails that cater to all fitness levels, with each of them taking in stunning scenery."

The multiple Emmy Award-winning The Amazing Race has been running in the US since 2001 and screens in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the US alone, it garnered 9.5 million viewers during its 2013-14 season. Keoghan has been the host and a producer of the US version of the show since its inception.

The use of influencers in Tourism New Zealand's marketing activity is a proven and cost-effective way to reach and influence a large number of people.

Appointing Keoghan as the face of New Zealand cycling in the US reflects Tourism New Zealand's 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.

There has been significant growth in US visitor numbers in recent years, thanks in part to the work undertaken to leverage off the incredible popularity of the Hobbit films. Now the Trilogy has come to an end, the move towards promotion of cycling and other special interest sectors there reflects Tourism New Zealand's shift in focus to capitalise on the attention the films have created for the US visitor market. 

The campaign, which runs from 2 March to 31 May 2015, will appear online and in print.

Contact Faith Dennis, Communications Advisor, Tourism New Zealand | phone +64 21 393 135