Fishing show lures South Koreans to New Zealand’s waters

New Zealand’s landscapes, record weight fish, and a hip hop music backing track made for thrilling television in South Korea recently.

What a catch!

A series of episodes of the hit show "The Fishermen and The City" featuring New Zealand outperformed all other programmes in its time slot.

The hosts, Auckland-raised hip hop artist Microdot (David Shen), actor Lee Deok-hwa, and comedian Lee Kyung-kyu, along with guest celebrity actor Ju Jin Mo, spent a fortnight in February filming their fishing adventures on the Auckland, Waiheke Island, Whakatane, and an expedition to White Island. 

The episodes' production was supported by Tourism New Zealand and Auckland International Airport. 

"South Korea has one of the most-travelled populations in the world, and outbound numbers are increasing so there are considerable opportunities for New Zealand. 'The Fishermen and The City' is a very popular television show that provided a new way for Tourism New Zealand to showcase our regions and the different activities on offer," says Gregg Wafelbakker, Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager – Asia.

"Having a kiwi connection with Microdot was fantastic as he gave the Korean audience a local perspective on our culture and paved the way for a lot of discussion with the presenters. Microdot often references New Zealand and Auckland in his music and is a keen fisherman, with a substantial following online."

The team's adventures were aired over five 90-minute episodes in March and April. With more than 11 million viewers, the episodes collectively generated $12 million in equivalent advertising value (more than $5 million up on expectations). 

Tourism New Zealand and Auckland International Airport have worked extensively together supporting travel agents to promote shoulder season travel in New Zealand. The organisations have also partnered with Korean Air.

For the year ending February 2018, 67,152 Koreans travelled to New Zealand on holiday (up 13.4% on the year prior), staying for an average 10.2 days.