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New Zealand? Isn’t that part of Australia?

Media Release

1 December 2005

“New Zealand?
”Isn’t that part of Australia?”

Awarded the world’s most successful international country marketing campaign, Tourism New Zealand is run on a fraction of the budgets of competing international destinations which are fast coming up to speed with attractive campaigns of their own.

Speaking on behalf of TIA Members the Chief Executive Fiona Luhrs said Tourism New Zealand must have a funding boost if New Zealand is to continue to receive the benefits of economic growth through tourism.

Luhrs made her comments after briefing the new Minister of Tourism, Hon Damien O’Connor on the competitive issues facing the tourism industry which has seen declining growth rates in both the domestic and international markets.

“We understand advice is going to Ministers before Christmas and Cabinet will make decisions in early 2006. We want to make clear that our members believe increasing funding for international marketing is the single highest priority for the government to address for the future of tourism in New Zealand,” said Luhrs.

The association said a “significant” increase in offshore marketing is required to keep New Zealand highly visible on the ‘world map’.

Tourism New Zealand has not received a baseline increase for six years and funding has not been indexed to inflation.

And she had a word for the critics: “Contrary to popular opinion, the private tourism sector contributes significantly to offshore marketing.

“The dollar value of international marketing undertaken by Air New Zealand alone is in the region of $70 million - far exceeding that of Tourism New Zealand. Companies such as Qantas, THL, SkyCity, Ngai Tahu Tourism, Agrodome and Tamaki Heritage Experiences also invest heavily in overseas marketing,” Luhrs said.

“All New Zealanders derive considerable economic development benefit from this private sector investment in offshore marketing.”

However Luhrs maintains that private sector operators are always going to direct their investments at a tactical and trade level.

“Building world-wide awareness of New Zealand as a destination falls to government via the national tourism organisation. It is Tourism New Zealand’s marketing campaign that drives international perceptions of New Zealand as a country and destination,” said Luhrs.

The Association says New Zealand is a small, remote and recently settled country that has had to reposition itself from being seen as a remote backwater full of sheep with no sophistication whatsoever. The 100% Pure campaign - and the experiences visitors have while here - have assisted considerably with the conversion of perceptions of New Zealand to being a small, savvy country with fantastic scenery, great people and an intriguing culture.

“Like agriculture, tourism has the potential to deliver real economic growth to all the regions of New Zealand,” said Luhrs. “It would be very foolish to think that will continue in the absence of a strong, global marketing presence.”

TIA has contributed to a review of Tourism New Zealand’s funding after the Government announced a full review of the agency in the 2005 Budget.

To view the TIA briefing paper on Tourism New Zealand funding visit www.tianz.org.nz

ENDS

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