Pip Casey, Tourism New Zealand’s Regional Manager Europe says while the backpacker visitor numbers are good, they could be even better. “We are showing the backpackers that as well as the magnificent scenery and landscapes, New Zealand offers life experiences and unique activities unmatched by other destinations.
“European backpackers tend to stay for an extended period of time and get involved in work or volunteering so we also want to show New Zealand as a destination that helps backpackers build and develop life experiences.
The number of backpackers visiting from the UK and Germany grew by 16 percent last year, accounting for more than 159,000 young travellers throwing packs on their backs and heading for New Zealand. This is supported by 8 percent growth in working holiday visa approvals which means that young people are also combining travel with work during their extended stay here.
Tourism New Zealand has joined up with STA for the new campaign, headlined “Play More Every day, Work and Travel.” The campaign is targeting young travellers who are planning to come to New Zealand this spring. The campaign includes digital marketing and shop window advertising, supported by travel agent training webinars and STA’s “flight and adventure” promotional deals.
The backpacker market, 18-to-24 year olds, is a valuable visitor segment for New Zealand accounting for about 11 percent of total international visitors and visitor spend. As well as staying longer, backpackers also travel to more regions around New Zealand than the average visitor which fits Tourism New Zealand’s drive to encourage greater regional dispersal of visitors.
Pip says there is great potential to capture more of the backpacker market and the feedback from travel agents suggests that the timing couldn’t be better.
“European travel agents report that enquiries about travel to New Zealand are booming. There is still huge awareness and interest in the Hobbit, particularly among young travellers, and with safety concerns in the Western Mediterranean region, Europeans are seeing New Zealand as a great option” she said.
Read more about the European backpacker market in this Tourism New Zealand profile