Focus Australia in 2012

For the first time, visitor arrivals to New Zealand topped 2.6 million for the 12 month period to end December 2011. Visitors from Australia accounted for almost half of this number with nearly 1.2 million visitors and a growth of 3.3 per cent for the period.

Such growth shows that destination New Zealand continues to provide a unique and very attractive product to the Australian market. Australia remains a priority market for Tourism New Zealand, with activity including a full range of trade, traditional and digital marketing, partnered activity and PR initiatives.

With the ongoing strength of the Australian economy, competition for Australian visitors is increasing and we can't be complacent about the future. However, we continue to achieve growth from our activities particularly where we conduct campaigns in partnership as integrating activity ensures we maximise reach and success. This is something you will see more of in 2012.

As we enter the shoulder season we are starting to implement activity to maintain growth through winter and the low season.

The 2012 Ski season campaign with a theme of More in every day will launch on 19 February. The campaign profiles not only the quality ski product on offer but also all the other activities available within close proximity to the ski fields. Running through to July the campaign will work to maximise conversion across the season. It will use TV, online and partnerships with Flight Centre and Ski TMN.

February also sees us kick off a partnership campaign with coach operators (group tours) to generate more awareness of New Zealand as a coach tour destination. The coach market represents a strong opportunity to increase holiday visitors who tend to stay longer and spend more as they travel. The theme 'go with someone who knows' aims to convert the increased awareness into bookings.

Our recently completed South Island Road Trip delivered great results with strong referral rates and arrival figures. The campaign was partnered by Adventure World, Flight Centre, Kirra Tours, Jetset Travelworld Group and Jetstar, communicating the convenient interconnectivity between regions and gateways in the South Island.

Given the success of the campaign we are now investigating a similar approach with North Island RTOs for a North Island Road Trip in coming months. We will keep you updated on this and other activity we initiate to maximise opportunities and to maintain growth with smart marketing activity into the future.

Inside Tourism column 'Foreign Exchange' | Published in Inside Tourism, issue 868, 16 February 2012

Kevin Bowler

Chief Executive