TNZ goes beyond the wicket

One of the world's most anticipated sporting events, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, kicks off next week and will see New Zealand broadcast live to a global audience of a billion people.

New Zealand is co-hosting the tournament alongside Australia with the opening ceremony to be held in Christchurch on 12 February.  

It is an incredible opportunity and Tourism New Zealand has developed a comprehensive programme of activity to maximise the global attention the event brings us to show audiences New Zealand 'beyond the wicket'.

However, the benefits the tournament present goes much further than the next six weeks. The opportunity to profile the country on such as scale holds enormous potential for New Zealand and it is one we're looking to leverage.

We have identified Australia, the UK and India as key target markets for Cricket World Cup activity.

Around 500 media are expected in the country and Tourism New Zealand is running a programme of activity striving to maximise that international attention and tell the story of New Zealand as not only a great place to hold international sporting events, but a fantastic place to visit.

Select media have been invited as part of the media hosting programme to take part in regional tourism experiences that will provide them a more immersive experience of New Zealand, allowing them to talk more freely about the country between reporting on matches.  

Alongside this, Tourism New Zealand will be present in the media centre of each stadium with a support desk for story ideas, tourism experiences, imagery and footage. 

Leading up to Cricket World Cup, Tourism New Zealand has been working in our key markets to increase awareness as co-host of the tournament, via a number of cricket influencers.

In London a media event was held in July, attended by famous cricketer Sir Richard Hadlee. The giant inflatable cricket ball that has travelled around New Zealand's 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup host cities and tourist hotspots also made its first UK appearance at the event.

To mark the 100-day countdown to the opening match at Christchurch's Hagley Oval on 14 February 2015, Stephen Fleming travelled through India and Sri Lanka with a 15-strong delegation on a Cricket World Cup promotional mission.

Stephen, a well-known figure in India, and the current Mumbai Chennai Super Kings Coach, was kept busy during the trip with media appearances with more than 20 outlets in New Delhi and Mumbai, a Google Hangout Q&A session for fans and even a cricket match with prominent social media Indian blogger, Miss Malini. Stephen has also been appearing in a dedicated advertising campaign showcasing New Zealand as a tourism destination.

Later in November, six journalists, representing publications from across the Indian sub-continent travelled through New Zealand on a ten-day Cricket World Cup-themed tour. The group visited Auckland, Hamilton, Napier and Christchurch - key regions for Indian cricket fans - taking in some iconic tourism experiences along the way.

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 provides us with a major opportunity to boost exposure in key target markets and provides a valuable opportunity for us to once again showcase New Zealand and its ability to host a major sporting fixture, on the global stage.

Let the tournament begin!

Kevin Bowler

Chief Executive