“I came away full of creative ideas, enthusiasm and a real passion for selling destination New Zealand…. There is always something to discover, to learn and to be updated on….. It is really valuable to be able to develop relationships and put a face to the people we work with…. We got to know about exciting new products and regions we don’t know as much about.”
It was the biggest event of its kind and judging by feedback like this, it was also one of the best.
The workshop brought together 60 product managers from travel companies across the UK and Europe for one on one meetings and training by 23 New Zealand selected tourism operators, chosen for their particular relevance to the European market – including youth, luxury, walking/hiking and cycling products. The focus of the three day workshop was on promoting spring and autumn travel, along with New Zealand’s ‘undiscovered’ regions.
Paris-based product manager for New Zealand, Auriela Devilliers, said: “As specialists of New Zealand we need to be able to offer something different from the mainstream in term of activities, routes and itineraries rather than sticking to the usual demands. Being able to meet the sellers themselves is a really valuable way to discover products which are not loaded in our inbound system or that we have not paid attention to.”
Stefanie Hübner is a product manager selling New Zealand to German travellers. She said: “The workshop has been a good start to the new season and of great value for myself. It was a great mix of suppliers featuring a wide range of different products - from accommodation to day excursions. I appreciated that The Department of Conservation as well as a few regional tourism offices took part in the workshop to provide general information on changes and selling points in certain areas such as the Nelson Tasman Region or Hawkes Bay. The workshop helped me get in touch with new suppliers and potential interesting new products for the German market.”
The workshop was perfect timing given the recent growth from what is a well-established visitor market for New Zealand, said Pip Casey, Tourism New Zealand’s Regional Manager, UK & Europe.
“Not only is this region New Zealand’s largest source of tourism revenue and second largest source of visitor arrivals, we have also seen 12 per cent growth in holiday arrivals in 2015, as well as a 14 per cent increase in holiday stay days. This level of growth is extraordinary from such a mature tourism market as Europe.”
Tourism New Zealand added extra benefit with an additional training day, where 80 frontline travel agents who specialise in selling New Zealand were trained by the New Zealand operators.
Seven international marketing alliances (made up of 30 regional tourism organisations) also attended the EPW, including some from New Zealand regions that have traditionally received fewer international visitors, such as the West Coast of the South Island and Southland. This aligns with Tourism New Zealand’s strategy to encourage visitors to travel to regions outside of the country’s main tourism centres.
“The workshop was a fantastic opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s off the beaten track regions and encourage visitors to travel more widely in New Zealand, taking pressure off the main centres during peak season. As Europeans stay longer than any other visitors to New Zealand, they are well positioned to do so,” says Pip.