Taupo and Hawke’s Bay regions delight 33.5 million Chef Nic viewers

The Taupō and Hawke’s bay regions have been showcased to more than 33.5 million viewers in a Chef Nic episode launched this month. Chinese superstar chef, Nicholas Tse was in New Zealand in November to film the eighth episode of China’s most popular food and travel show.

Pictured: Al Brown with Chef Nic and G.E.M at the Hawke's Bay Farmer's Market

The 50-minute episode featured Chef Nic and celebrity friend, G.E.M (Gloria Tang) experiencing and tasting regional delights. Activities included cycling through vineyards, barbequing, enjoying hangi and local cultural performances, as well as an Art Deco event in the Hawke’s Bay and sailing in Taupō.

Local chef and restaurateur Al Brown featured on the episode, hosting Chef Nic and G.E.M at a local farmers market. Al introduced the guests to fresh local ingredients such as strawberries, figs, cheese and lamb.

“This is my first time to New Zealand. It’s like a wonderland. I feel like a kid running into a candy shop,” says Chef Nic star, Nicholas Tse. “The people are so warm and gentle, and they are so proud of being Kiwi.  Everyone is so nice to us, I’m so happy to be here. I love the country.”

Guest star G.E.M became the only Asian artist to feature in the Forbes 30 Under 30 (Music) in 2016. She has a substantial social media following round 24 million on Chinese social media platform, Weibo. In an early social media post for the show, G.E.M posed with kina, a local delicacy.

“New Zealand’s sea urchins are really eye-opening. I even couldn’t find the right word to describe my feeling. I could only say that they are extremely fresh and creamy,” says G.E.M. “I really enjoy the gourmet food in New Zealand. It makes me forget that I come here for work!”

The episode has an estimated advertising value (EAV) of more than NZ$20 million.

Tourism New Zealand says the impact and influence of New Zealand featuring on a show such as Chef Nic is significant for the tourism industry.

“China is a hugely valuable visitor market for New Zealand, with Chinese visitors contributing around $1.4 billion to the New Zealand economy each year,” says Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager - Asia, Gregg Wafelbakker.

“As a trusted and influential icon in China, the audience reach from Chef Nic is huge for our industry. In a matter of days the episode has reached the equivalent of almost seven times the entire population of New Zealand, showing our second-largest market a realistic picture of what a New Zealand holiday could look like – and it looks great.

“Our challenge is to encourage a greater number of Chinese free and independent travellers to New Zealand, who generally visit more regions and spend more than the traditional large group tours, to more widely share the benefits of tourism across the country.

“Chef Nic has shown in this episode how easy it is to do just this – travelling around New Zealand’s regions and experiencing a wide range of high quality tourism products.”

Tourism New Zealand worked closely with regional tourism offices Destination Great Lake Taupō and Hawke’s Bay Tourism to show Chef Nic the best of the Taupō and Hawke’s Bay regions. Both RTOs are optimistic about the impact Chef Nic will have in bringing more Chinese visitors to the regions.

“We’re really excited about the exposure Great Lake Taupō had in the Chef Nic show. China is very much an emerging market for us, so it’s wonderful to see Chef Nic showcasing the experiences our Chinese visitors love – fresh local food, our Māori culture and our spectacular lake and mountain scenery,” says Anna McLaren, Marketing and Communications Manager, Destination Great Lake Taupō.

“We’re looking forward to seeing an increase in Chinese visitors to Great Lake Taupō who want to follow in the footsteps of Chef Nic.”

General Manager - Hawke’s Bay Tourism, Annie Dundas says: “Hawke’s Bay was thrilled to be involved with Tourism New Zealand bringing Chef Nic to our part of the world. Hawke’s Bays’ food and wine offering was a perfect match for what Chef Nic wanted to do in New Zealand.”

“We are seeing more and more Chinese visitors in Hawke’s Bay and we have a wonderful offering when it comes to fresh and good food which is what many Chinese visitors are looking for. This show will go a long way to showcasing the very best of Hawke’s Bay and we look forward to welcoming more Chinese visitors.”

For the year ending December 2017, New Zealand welcomed 314,048 Chinese holiday arrivals. This was an increase of 1.0 percent on the previous year.

The i-SITE visitor network recently released a new Chinese language touring map, designed to support the safety of self-drive tourists in New Zealand. It can be accessed at www.tourismnewzealand.com/isite