Travel TV still top of the pops in Japan

New Zealand was showcased to a combined audience of 11.7 million when it featured in two popular Japanese television shows recently.

“TV remains one of the most successful channels to reach our target audience in Japan. Travel and variety shows are particularly popular in Japan which works in our favour,” says Gregg Wafelbakker, Tourism New Zealand’s General Manger Asia.

An episode of Japan’s longest running travel and quiz show, Discover the World’s Mysteries, showcased New Zealand’s unique wildlife and landscapes in early June. The episode reached an audience of 7.5 million and generated $4.4 million in estimated advertising value.

Later in the month an episode of Another Sky showed Japanese model and TV personality Nicole Fujita returning to her birthplace of Auckland to discover her roots. The 30 minute episode was viewed by 4.2 million and generated an estimated advertising value of $2.95 million. Nicole also shared her journey with her combined social media following of 4.4 million.

There is a growing preference for New Zealand in Japan and the country is now home to the highest number 100% Pure New Zealand Specialists. These are travel agents trained by Tourism New Zealand to build must-do itineraries for their clients.

When the 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist Programme was re-launched in Japan this time last year there was around 430 specialists and there is now over 1480.

“This incredible growth shows there is a strong desire amongst Japanese travel sellers to improve their knowledge of New Zealand. We have made a concerted effort to run specialist training programmes to help reach the 1,000 people in Japan actively considering a visit to New Zealand,” says Gregg.

In June, 29 of these specialists were brought to New Zealand to advance their knowledge of New Zealand and cap off a year of training by visiting a range of regions across New Zealand.

“Familiarisation trips are an extremely effective way to up-skill travel sellers on New Zealand. Travel sellers who have experienced a destination for themselves are more likely to sell it to their clients.”

Japan is New Zealand’s second largest Asian market and Tourism New Zealand is dedicated to growing the value of visitation from this market.

A key focus is how to leverage next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan to showcase New Zealand. Planning is currently underway to decide the best way to do this.