Tourism New Zealand's Nick Mudge says recent demand in Japan meant all scheduled flights over the summer season ran at close to maximum capacity.
"So our current objective is to increase visibility for New Zealand and push new promotions into the market to see if we can convert more travel bookings for the shoulder season.
Nick says there is a clear increase in preference for New Zealand as a holiday destination in the target segments of Young Adventurers and Senior Nature Lovers.
"Tourism New Zealand is focused on this opportunity and has integrated promotional activity confirmed for the next eight weeks, targeting the April-October travel period," he says.
"Phase 2 of Tourism New Zealand's 100% Pure New Zealand campaign targeting Young Adventurers launched in mid-February and runs till the end of March.
"The campaign promotes experiences that offer both adventure, and the chance to "refresh"; and will make use of new video assets created when the 10 winners of last year's Young Adventurers campaign travelled to New Zealand.
"We have also launched a large joint venture campaign with Air New Zealand from February 18 promoting a new special shoulder season airfare that represents a 30 per cent discount on previous lead-in prices.
"Key trade partners are all working with the airfare offer preparing a range of promotional package options targeting both segments.
"We are supporting priority travel agents with a series of promotional ads in popular Tokyo and Osaka newspapers, which in turn are being supported by in-store promotions, customer newsletters and trade partner incentives.
"Running alongside all this paid campaign work will be the results of an increased public relations effort," says Nick.
"Our Public Relations team has increased focus on broadcast exposure to capture the interest of our Young Adventurers target market. Over the past six months, Tourism New Zealand with Air New Zealand's support has attracted a number of popular travel and variety shows to visit New Zealand as part of the International Media Programme.
In February and March alone, New Zealand will receive around four hours of exposure on primetime Japanese TV and reach a combined audience of around 40 million.
On February 22, New Zealand was featured in "Discover the World's Wonders", Japan's longest running travel/quiz show with an audience of over 13 million viewers.
"Selected magazines and online outlets will also publish a number of stories on New Zealand over the same period with specially curated content targeting the younger traveller further supporting the planned promotional activity."
Air New Zealand this year will also be operating daily flights from Narita on a year round basis, the first time since 2006.
"It's another positive sign for the market that ended 2013 showing three per cent growth in total arrivals," says Nick "and creates a new opportunity to leverage the demand that we observed over the summer."
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