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U.S. tourism mission an outstanding success

United States tourism mission an outstanding success

Americans on both coasts have never loved New Zealand more. Minister of Tourism Mark Burton, who has just returned from a six-day programme in the United States, said that New Zealand’s reputation as a hot destination was growing by the day.

After hosting a special New York City screening of Whale Rider, New Zealand’s latest multi award-winning film, Mark Burton travelled to Los Angeles to attend Kiwilink, Tourism New Zealand’s largest annual trade-training event. Kiwilink is designed to showcase New Zealand’s tourism products to members of the North American travel trade.

“The reception I was given on both coasts was phenomenal. New Zealand’s media profile in the US has never been higher, and just about everyone I met was eager to visit.

“New Zealanders are well aware of the publicity that the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the America’s Cup have generated. But coverage of New Zealand in the United States goes well beyond that. Over the past year, we have been featured on The Discovery Channel’s Royal Tour, The Amazing Race, National Geographic Today, The Food Network, The Today Show, and The CBS Early Show, as well as numerous magazine and newspaper articles or features.

“It would be impossible to overstate the impact of this coverage, especially from The Royal Tour. In fact, I’m told that every time it has screened, airline call centres get a surge in bookings to New Zealand. The travel trade representatives and media that took part in the Kiwilink event were already well aware of much of what we have on offer here. We didn’t have to sell them on the idea of promoting New Zealand tourism product—they were eager to learn as much as possible.”

Just prior to his trip, Mark Burton announced budget funding of $15 million over three years, aimed at increasing New Zealand’s market share in the United States through a US-specific version of Tourism New Zealand’s highly successful global 100% Pure campaign “It is vital that we take full advantage of the current marketing opportunities provided by our visibility in the United States,” said Mark Burton.

“Many Americans fit the profile of our ideal visitor. They travel regularly, actively participate in the natural environment, seek a wide range of authentic experiences, and are large consumers of Maori cultural product.

“Indeed, Qantas recently announced plans to boost its passenger capacity on flights from the United States to New Zealand by 40 percent—a positive sign that the North American market has exceptional potential.

“With the final Lord of the Rings film opening in December, and Whale Rider tipped to be a box office success in the States, we must continue to increase New Zealand’s profile and help develop a better understanding of New Zealand as a sophisticated, unique, year-round travel destination.”

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