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Visitors give Northland a high rating - research

13 September 2004

Visitors give Northland a high rating - research

Visitors to Northland rate the region highly, according to new research commissioned by Enterprise Northland.

The international visitors who took part in the research awarded Northland an average 8.18 out of 10 rating and were impressed by cultural activities, water-based activities, beaches and coastline, access to information, friendliness of locals and natural attractions.

Domestic visitors gave the region a score of 7.68.

The research, by Colmar Brunton, was commissioned to monitor visitor satisfaction levels, understand the motivations and influences on travel planning and check the information available about Northland. It included face-to-face interviews, surveys and “mystery shopper” visits to visitor information centres in Auckland.

The results will be used by the Enterprise Northland Tourism Development Group, and its sub-groups, to plan future initiatives.

Enterprise Northland project manager Kiri Goulter said the research had highlighted specific areas for improvement in the information available to help visitors plan their Northland trips.

“Overall, Northland is well positioned.

“International visitors have the perception that Northland is ‘real New Zealand’ and are attracted by the images of natural unspoilt beauty in documentaries, travel books and articles in their home countries.

“They use the internet and travel books and brochures to plan their trips, and are also influenced by recommendations from friends and family members”.

Kiri Goulter says a third of total visitors surveyed had used the internet, of which 64 percent relied on the purenz.com and newzealand.com websites. Northland is already working with Tourism New Zealand, which operates the two websites, to create a stronger presence on the sites.

Visitor information centres at Auckland, Rotorua, Taupo and Christchurch also emerged as key sources of the information used by international visitors to plan the Northland segment of their New Zealand trips.

A heightened profile at Auckland International Airport is an option which is being considered, along with increasing the education programmes provided to information centre staff.

Meanwhile, domestic visitors viewed Northland as a destination for weekend getaways. Most are return visitors and believe they know the area well.

“There is an opportunity for us to let the domestic market know what’s new and what’s changing in Northland,” says Kiri Goulter.

The research summary document is available on www.enterprisenorthland.co.nz.

ENDS

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