Capitalising on cricket in India

It wasn't just the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy that travelled New Zealand during November - a group of Indian journalists came along for the ride.

The six journalists, representing publications from across the Indian sub-continent travelled the country on a ten-day Cricket World Cup-themed tour.

The group visited Auckland, Hamilton, Napier and Christchurch - key regions for Indian cricket fans - taking in some iconic tourism experiences along the way.

Results to date have included articles in India's popular financial publications The Economic Times and Business Standard.

Tourism New Zealand's Director of Trade, PR and Major Events, Justin Watson, says the visit was part of Tourism New Zealand's increased focus on India in the build-up to the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.

"By bringing the journalists down to New Zealand during the trophy tour, we were able to give them a taste of what will be on offer in 2015 and support them to sell the story of a New Zealand cricket holiday to their readers.

"Cricket is a popular sport in India, and tourism numbers to New Zealand are growing - the Cricket World Cup presents the perfect opportunity to capitalise on the added attention New Zealand will receive as the tournament is broadcast to one billion TV viewers worldwide."

The journalists' trip was timed post the Government's successful Cricket World Cup leveraging mission to India with former Black Caps captain Stephen Fleming in early November.

Stephen, a well-known figure in India as Mumbai's Chennai Super Kings Coach, was kept busy during the trip with media appearances for more than 20 outlets in New Delhi and Mumbai, a Google Hangout Q&A session for fans and even a cricket match with prominent social media Indian blogger, Miss Malini.

Media results have been flooding in as a result. To date, 120 stories have been published.
One of the highlights of the trip was a corporate evening co-hosted by Tourism New Zealand and travel guide publisher Lonely Planet, at which the '100 Days to Go' video was launched to 100 plus guests, showcasing Australia and New Zealand working together to draw cricket enthusiasts to the two countries.

Five lucky invitees even got the chance to bowl to Stephen Fleming on a staged cricket pitch at the venue.

New Zealand's ability to host large scale conferences and incentive groups was also showcased during the trip, at a Centrum group event at the Ritz Carlton on 17 November in Bangalore.

The event highlighted New Zealand's accessibility, unique activities and ability to host world class business events and targeted an audience of 100 key incentive travel decision makers.

Says Justin, "The ongoing activity in the Indian market in the build-up to the Cricket World Cup is all part of Tourism New Zealand's effort to leverage opportunities arising from this major sporting event.

"The ICC Cricket World Cup is the biggest sporting event to come to New Zealand in 2015 and will be broadcast to 180 countries. The tournament being broadcast around the world provides us with the perfect opportunity to tell the story of New Zealand as not only a great place to hold international sporting events, but also as a fantastic place to visit."