The new direction follows the Government's 2013/14 Budget announcement of an additional $123 million in funding for Tourism New Zealand over four years, with $20 million specifically tagged to growing the premium sector.
Earlier this year, TNZ's presented the opportunities the premium sector presents to the New Zealand economy in its Three Year Marketing Strategy.
It's estimated that premium travellers spend on average upwards of $2,500 a day - about what an average visitor spends during their entire visit, and have the potential to provide an economic benefit beyond that gained from just tourism. These visitors often arrive by private planes or yachts, stay at high end lodges and participate in a range of activities such as fishing, golf and scenic helicopter flights to name a few.
With the premium traveller rarely completing the international visitor survey, very little hard data on who they are and where they are coming from, is available. As a result TNZ has undertaken a focused research programme, tapping into the knowledge of stakeholders working in the premium sector to develop a robust and informed strategic approach.
The research found that while New Zealand is on the 'wish list' of many premium travellers, their awareness of our country is often general and typically based around scenery, the All Blacks and Peter Jackson's Middle-earth films.
This makes it critical for TNZ is to create an appreciation of New Zealand as a premium destination through targeted media, trade and industry partners.
The Premium Travel team will be tasked with increasing the premium traveller visitor arrivals to New Zealand. They will continue to work collaboratively with the industry's premium stakeholders to achieve this strategy.
In line with this, two significant appointments have been made to the new Premium Travel team. Samuel Russell has been appointed to the role of Sector Manager - Premium Travel, bringing with him over 20 years of international experience in the luxury goods, travel, hospitality, banking and medical centres; and Stephen Marshall has accepted the new role of Premium Sector Trade Manager - Americas. Recruitment is currently underway to complete the team, with Premium Sector Trade Managers in the UK and Asia.
TNZ has also progressed its work to target other high-value special interest sectors, with the recently completed Golf Tourism Strategy. The report, commissioned by TNZ, explores New Zealand's golf tourism potential and will be shared with industry in October in a series of workshop sessions.
As both streams of work are implemented, be sure to keep updated with the latest developments on TNZ's corporate website, tourismnewzealand.com, and its e-newsletter Tourism News.