While some 700 people attended our recent updates around New Zealand, many more will not have been able to join us.
As Tourism New Zealand enters the third year of its three-year marketing plan, we are clear in our direction and objective - increasing visitor value. As such, you will start to hear us speak more about our goal of increasing 'stay days' than simply 'visitor arrivals'. While arrival numbers remain important, it is the total period of time spent in the country by international visitors that most correlates to an economic contribution to the industry - the longer people stay, the more they're likely to spend.
This is why we remain focused on our traditional long haul markets of the US, the UK and Germany. These holiday visitors stay in the country on average 18, 28 and 44 days respectively.
Stay days is also a key focus for us in the China market - the potential value of these visitors will only be truly realised when we see a growth in mono destination group and FIT travel styles. The key to increasing stay days is to offer the right mono products in China while focusing on providing quality experiences to travellers.
Another key focus for us over the next 24 months is to work alongside partners in NZ Inc to leverage the attention New Zealand will receive with the release of the two Hobbit films. At TRENZ, we announced the creative theme that will blend some of the themes of the Hobbit, with our own brand. "100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand" will be the basis for our marketing campaign work which will be released later in the year.
One topic I have spoken a lot of in recent weeks is newzealand.com. Over the past 12 months we have received plenty of feedback from operators on the site and as a result, completed an external review to see how we can make it work better for users and you. As we continue to improve the site we are undertaking international user testing to ensure the changes support the genuine needs of people seeking information. We expect to deliver a significantly revised edition of the site later this year and are confident that the changes will improve how the site works for operators, and make it easier for potential travellers to navigate the site.
Finally, partnerships remain at the core of our work. Whether it is with aviation, RTOs, or overseas travel sellers, closer collaboration with others will help drive more promotion of New Zealand and ensure a stronger overall New Zealand message off-shore.
You can find a copy of the presentation I gave to industry on our website under the News/Tourism Insights sections here.
On a final note, we have committed to another series of Chief Executive and Chair updates in December 2012, when we will discuss our next three-year marketing plan with you. Planning is already underway to get a manageable schedule of travel and meetings locked into my diary so keep a close eye on www.tourismnewzealand.com where we will announce the timing as soon as it is confirmed.
Inside Tourism, issue 881, 15 May 2012