American travel writer visit generates unprecedented NZ coverage in market

A visit of around 450 North American travel writers, PR professionals and associates to New Zealand has generated an unprecedented amount of coverage of the country in print, online and broadcast media.

The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) held their annual convention in Wellington last November. While in New Zealand the delegates travelled the length and breadth of the country with the intention of getting stories published, across a huge variety of media, throughout the US and Canada.

Those intentions have come to fruition with over 180 pieces of media coverage achieved by SATW delegates in the eight months since they've been home.

Tourism New Zealand General Manager Brand & International PR Catherine Bates says that the organisation is delighted with the success of the visit. 

"Money can't buy the volume of coverage achieved from the visit nor the opportunity to showcase the New Zealand holiday experience to such a varied potential visitor audience via the diverse range of publications New Zealand is featuring in."

Key pieces of coverage include a feature story on The Hobbit and film tourism in USA Today reaching a circulation of 1.8 million, a five-minute segment on BBC Fast Track about Waitomo Caves watched by a global audience of 75 million, a feature on travelling New Zealand by campervan published on MSN Canada and Yahoo! Canada and travel features in several daily newspapers including the Houston Chronicle (911,564 circ), Boston Globe (356,652 circ), Toronto Star (381,310 circ), Chicago Tribune (781,128 circ) and Miami Herald (209,116 circ).

"Coverage from the visit has been overwhelmingly positive with 98 per cent of the results reflecting Tourism New Zealand's key brand attributes."

All media coverage generated through the International Media Programme is reviewed against a number of measures to be able to quantify the results Tourism New Zealand achieves.

Says Catherine, "To put it into context, in the 2011 financial year Tourism New Zealand's International Media Programme generated a total of 151 pieces of coverage for the North American market.

"The SATW visit has ensured that that number has already been exceeded. Furthermore, media coverage is expected to continue as a result of the convention visit for many years to come delivering long-term benefits to the industry.

"We know the power that word of mouth provides and the international media programme works to build on this by gaining compelling, high-profile media coverage which supports our marketing activity in turn promoting New Zealand to a captive audience and motivating them to make New Zealand their next holiday destination."

The Society of American Travel Writers is a significant professional association which represents about 1,200 professional journalists, photographers, and media relations professionals and associates in North America.

The convention was supported jointly by Positively Wellington Tourism, Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand.

Read more about our activity to target the North American market here.