Right Royal pay-off from regal visit

Last week the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge touched down in Wellington for their ten day official tour of New Zealand.

Both ahead of the visit and during the tour, Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) had a goal to maximise the opportunity to show the world that New Zealand is a welcoming, hospitable visitor destination.

About 130 international media, here to follow the Royal tour and capture their every move, have produced significant coverage across our key markets of the UK and Europe, USA, Japan and Australia. Their stories and images will reach tens of millions of households worldwide.

TNZ developed a supporting programme of activity to give media an additional New Zealand experience for periods when they are not required to cover the Royal party's engagements.

We began with a media welcome in Wellington, where Hinewehi Mohi dazzled journalists with her amazing whatau and waiata, before New Zealand food and wine was served. It was a spectacular display of some of New Zealand's finest, and the feedback from journalists was extremely positive as it turns out not every country gives visiting media this sort of a welcome.

During the tour itself, media were invited to participate in a number of other tourism experiences - from Wellington's gourmet food and beer trails, a preview of the Omaka Aviation Heritage Area and a trip to Hobbiton.

By participating in these activities, the media are better able and more motivated to write about their New Zealand experiences.

The media stories that will appear as part of the Royal visit and the additional activities they took part in will help us continue to build on the solid growth we have been seeing out of Western markets.

During the tour we carefully captured the moment by publishing stories and distributing images of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's time in New Zealand through our international media channels and online. In the UK this has been supported by further campaign activity, driving potential travellers to the 'Fit for a Royal' itinerary on our UK editions of newzealand.com, which includes regional highlights from the tour and a selection of other activities visitors can experience while here.

This activity demonstrates just how easy it is for people to come to New Zealand and have similar experiences to those enjoyed by the Royal family.

It is fitting for me to acknowledge that our work to leverage the Royal visit has been led by Catherine Bates, GM PR and Major Events, who leaves us later this month.

During her 19 years with the organisation Catherine has been involved in and led many key projects and organisational achievements, and has provided a remarkable contribution to the tourism sector.

This spans involvement in the creation and development of 100% Pure New Zealand, now a world-renowned marketing campaign; the international media engagement around several America's Cup campaigns; the Rugby World Cup 2011; the development of The New Zealand Story; and, of course, delivering a world-class leverage programme around The Hobbit trilogy.

We are confident that her last project to leverage the Royal visit will follow closely in the successful footsteps of her past campaigns, and that we are only just seeing the start of the resulting coverage and growing interest from travellers across our key Western markets.

On behalf of TNZ, I wish Catherine all the very best in her new role with the World Cups Office and look forward to working with her to leverage both the ICC Cricket World Cup and FIFA U-20 World Cup during 2015.

First published in Inside Tourism issue 973, 16 April

Kevin Bowler

Chief Executive