NZ's 'man drought' the new draw card for tourism

- Posted in New Zealand by Visa Bureauon 28 October 2008

The new marketing strategy is taking off just weeks after their $7.3 million 'What do you say UK?' campaign hit television screens around the UK.  The campaign used interviews of British travellers taken when travelling around New Zealand, and was an attempt to use word-of-mouth technique to encourage people to travel now. 

Statistics New Zealand released figures this month that showed imbalances of gender around the country.  In Kapiti, just north of Wellington and home of the famous Kapiti ice cream, the ratio of men to women showed the biggest discrepancy, where there were 89 men for every 100 women in the 15-39 year age group.  Napier, Rotorua, Gisborne and all other major cities were showing signs of increasing gaps between men and women.

New Zealand women outnumber men by 35,000 in the 20 to 45 age group, which may not seem much by UK standards but with a population of just over 4 million people in New Zealand, the chances of finding a single Kiwi woman for a British man is becoming much more likely.

Researchers say the increasingly popular Overseas Experience is the major contributing factor for the gender imbalance, and that more men than women are leaving New Zealand and staying away for longer.

The Independent reported Tourism NZ's press release, which used the somewhat worrying facts as their new tool to encourage more British men to holiday in New Zealand.

"It has been revealed that the women of New Zealand have a far more difficult job than Brits when it comes to finding Mr Right as they are currently experiencing a widespread 'man drought'," Tourism NZ said in their release.

"The situation has now reached such a level that experts claim a 32-year-old woman has as much chance of finding a partner her age as an 82-year-old," the Independent said.

A Tourism NZ spokesperson said the new approach is not an attempt to downgrade the country's natural assets but is instead a tongue-in-cheek campaign.

"It's not trying to mock the country, but it is a light-hearted approach.  You never know, it may well persuade some people to come and visit the country.  If I was a guy, I might think about heading over there if I was single and looking for a girl."

For all the British men looking for love, they have a few options to holiday in the country for as long as possible; however, most young Brits travel New Zealand on a New Zealand working holiday visa as it allows them to stay in the country for longer and work during their stay.  British nationals on a New Zealand working holiday visa can work and holiday in the country for up to 12 months, and then apply for an 11-month extension.  Nationals from other countries participating in the New Zealand working holiday visa programme are not granted the 11-month extension.

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.