15 December 2008

Wellington: 'Best Little Capital in the World'

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Wellington is setting its sights to market itself as the 'Best Little Capital in the World' to international tourists, reports Fourcorners.co.nz.

The Wellington Visitor Strategy 2015 has been created to boost tourism numbers to counterbalance the dwindling international tourism trend to New Zealand and the impending higher travel taxes imposed on New Zealand's biggest tourism market, the UK.

Positively Wellington Tourism chief executive David Perks said the strategy is about being proactive in tourism, and challenging the perception that Wellington is more of a transit city rather than a tourist destination.

"Our city, once seen to be dull and ‘best seen by leaving on the ferry’, is now one of New Zealand’s top three visitor destinations and is widely recognised by Kiwis as the ultimate urban destination.  The challenge is to maintain and further grow that profile nationally and across the globe," he said.

The Lonely Planet recently hailed Wellington as the 'City on the Rise', while Australia's Sun Herald coined it the new San Francisco.

In the meantime, Tourism New Zealand and the new government are trialling new methods to attract the burgeoning markets in China and India to holiday in the country, as well as maintain traditionally strong levels of tourism from the UK and Australia. 

For example, in September this year, Tourism NZ released a television campaign that used video recordings of the personal experiences of Brits travelling the country to encourage more of New Zealand's second largest tourist market to enjoy the sights themselves. 

According to Brand Republic, Tourism NZ found the "What do you say UK?" campaign so successful that they are offering a second opportunity for travelling Brits to become stars, called "Have your Say". 

Launched last week by the new Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism John Key, the mobile film studio will give young New Zealand working holidaymakers and other holidaying Brits to create a visual postcard to send home to the UK, reports Voxy.co.nz.

The "Have your say" portable studio will give UK travellers the chance to share their experiences in New Zealand, which will be edited into a personal scrapbook-style for the tourism board's website, YouTube, and email that will be sent to family and friends.  Some lucky participants will star in the television campaign to be released in the UK in February next year.

"This initiative is harnessing new technology, and marketing through social networking in a way which will allow people to talk directly and immediately to those at home about their time in New Zealand," Mr Key said.

Gregg Anderson, Tourism New Zealand's regional manager for the UK and Europe, said "Our research found that word-of-mouth is a more powerful influencer for New Zealand than for other destinations, and this exciting new development embraces this strategy, as well as encourages immediacy to travel."

The campaign targets British tourists, who – after Australia – make up the largest tourist market for New Zealand.  According to the Dominion Post, 300,000 British tourists fly every year to work, holiday, and permanently emigrate to New Zealand.  A report from New Zealand’s Labour Department also showed that around 10,000 British residents would take advantage of the New Zealand working holiday visa during 2007. 

The mobile film studio's itinerary can be found on the tourism board's website. 

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their New Zealand visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.

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