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Paradise In Japan

16 NOVEMBER 2007

Paradise In Japan

Tourism New Zealand is making a large push into the Japanese tourism market launching the largest New Zealand promotional event ever staged in Japan to coincide with a $1.8 million campaign just launched into the Japanese market.

Aimed to give the Japanese a fresh take on what New Zealand has to offer, from 17-24 November, The New Zealand Paradise Week will promote New Zealand’s food and wine, fashion, music and the most up to date activities for tourists.

“This event is an important part of the work that Tourism New Zealand is doing to try and turn round the Japanese market, which has been in decline in recent years,” Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton said.

“We’re trying to promote all that is vibrant, modern and sophisticated about our country to try and move Japanese people’s perception away from thinking of New Zealand as a place with a lot of sheep and beautiful scenery,” Mr Hickton said.

Tourism Minister Damien O’Connor will open the event at a gala dinner on 16 November featuring Hayley Westenra and a fashion show including fashion designers Nom*D, Huffer, Cybèle and Sabatini White.

The centrepiece of the week will be a two-day outdoor festival expected to attract up to 15,000 people to Tokyo’s upmarket Roppongi Hills Arena on 17 and 18 November.

Visitors will be entertained by Hinewehi Mohi, Nesian Mystik, Rhombus, Strike and New Zealand fashion shows set amongst booths promoting New Zealand’s food, wine and other produce.

Following the weekend festival, from 19 – 25 November, New Zealand agencies including Tourism New Zealand and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise as well as Air New Zealand and other businesses will host events to promote New Zealand based primarily at the New Zealand Travel Café in Roppongi.

A unique part of the week will be the gifting of a taonga, a miniature double-hulled waka carved by Hokianga artist Will Ngakuru, by Tourism Minister Damien O’Connor on behalf of New Zealand to the Japanese Government.

The taonga, the double-hulled waka, represents the past and future connection between the New Zealand and Japanese people. The anchor for this taonga is marked by an information plaque, telling the story of the waka, at the Te Pikinga reserve in the Hokianga.

The Far North District Council and Te Hua o te Kawariki Trust have agreed to work together to plant a native tree for every Japanese visitor who visits the reserve till the plot is full.

Japan is currently New Zealand’s fourth largest market for international tourists with over 126,000 visitors arriving in the year to September, but visitor numbers have been in decline since June 2005.

The event has been made possible with the support of the New Zealand Government through the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s Cultural Diplomacy International Programme. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise are also providing support.

The week coincides with a new $1.8 million tourism campaign launching into the Japanese market.

“Already we’ve seen a huge surge in interest in the Japanese version of newzealand.com jumping from an average of 9,000 visits a week to over 80 thousand in the last week.”

Mr Hickton said the most effective elements of the campaign so far appear to be the television advertising and a mini book and DVD distributed with Sotokoto magazine. The DVD has interactive content such as downloadable ring tones and wallpapers. High profile advertising placements on Yahoo and Google are also driving traffic to www.newzealand.com.

The campaign covering television, press, magazine, radio and online runs until the end of February 2008.

There is some indication that the decline in visitor arrivals from Japan since June 2005 has slowed with a rise of 9.5% for the month ended September 2007.
“We are working to make sure this is an indication of things to come,” said Mr Hickton.

ENDS

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