TNZ launches first mobile app ‘Essential New Zealand’

Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) has made a significant addition to its suite of digital marketing channels, with the launch of its first mobile app - 'Essential New Zealand'.

The free app offers advice to travellers on the go in New Zealand, without the need for a WiFi connection, encouraging them to do and see more while here.

Catherine Bates, General Manager Brand and International PR, says; "Essential New Zealand aims to make it easier for visitors to connect with tourism experiences while travelling through the country - regardless of where they are or what they are doing.

"People on a boat in the middle of Milford Sound or pausing at one of the huts on the Tongariro crossing, can use this app to plan their next activity, rather than wait until they are back at a hotel or café.

"In turn, the app works to influence their travel decisions by encouraging them to travel more widely, visiting more regions and participating in more paid visitor activities."

Designed using robust user research, the free to download appworks in tandem with TNZ's mobile optimised travel website,, to enhance the visitor experience and improve access to information that meets traveller's needs.

TNZ's Visitor Experience Monitor showed that the use of mobile devices while in New Zealand had increased significantly between 2011 and 2012, with travellers using an iPad or laptop up 44 per cent, and use of a smartphone up 28 per cent.

"Travellers are now engaging with digital media prior to and throughout the travel process. Mobile is an increasingly important channel for operators, with a 1,000 per cent increase in mobile referrals from in the past year. The app is a significant step to support this increased use, ensuring information is readily available to travellers across a variety of digital channels.

"As a result, the app features over 1,150 activities and travel experiences, highlighting the iconic activities in each region which users can save into their 'Your Trip', an established tool on

"By delivering information users are looking for while they are in New Zealand, the app will generate highly qualified referrals to tourism businesses, for operators to convert into bookings.

The app also includes full contact details and detailed map locations for every activity and regional i-SITE centres, meaning face-to-face support and advice can be found easily if required. When accessed online, users are easily connected with comprehensive accommodation and transport booking information on

For operators, the app will provide a new channel to increase the value of their free listing on, which will continue to be the key planning tool for travellers, connecting them with travel sellers to help operators grow their tourism business.

In the past year TNZ has received record traffic to, attracting more than 13.8 million visits. The volume of traffic from mobile devices increased a staggering 250 per cent.

And the app is set to only get better for operators and users alike - with new features already planned in future versions.

"We already have new features in development for future versions of the app.  Essential New Zealand v1.1 will bring all the content saved in a consumer's 'Your Trip' on into the app, so they can access a much wider range of authoritative travel information when they need to.

TNZ worked in collaboration with Whybin\TBWA's Digital Arts Network (DAN) to research and design the app as part of its global agency agreement. 

"Our long-standing relationship and the high degree of trust between DAN and TNZ has enabled the curation ofEssential New Zealand; a single-minded app which has user research at its core," says Che Tamahori, Managing Director of DAN.

"It's a vital addition to TNZ's digital communication channels and we're delighted with the final product. User testing has suggested that visitors to New Zealand will love it too!"   

Leah Phelps, Senior Communications Advisor, Tourism New Zealand; +64 21 843 896

Notes for editors

Essential New Zealand can be downloaded from the Apple Store.

Essential New Zealandfeatures:

  • Top 10 New Zealand experiences selected from some of the country's most iconic tourism activities and attractions
  • Must-do experiences for 26 regions and many popular locations
  • Photos, descriptions and pricing info for hundreds of activities and attractions
  • Full contact details and detailed map locations for every activity and information centre
  • Plan and save your favourite activities and experiences into Your Trip to access later
  • Share your favourite activities with your travel mates or friends and family back home
  • Free to download and access all features
  • Offline access to travel information when you're in New Zealand and without an internet connection

About Whybin\TBWA and TBWA\ Digital Arts Network

Whybin\ TBWA is Tourism New Zealand's appointed agency to deliver its creative, media, digital requirements and global brand strategy. TBWA\ Digital Arts Network (DAN) is part of TBWA\ Worldwide. The core competencies of DAN include creative technology, UX, e-commerce, social media, content, mobile, IP and platforms, analytics, search, audience behaviour and production.