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Regions need to promote their unique icons

Thursday 8 September 2011

Regions need to promote their unique icons

Regions need to promote their unique features to attract international travellers, the final report from five and a half years of the Regional Visitor Monitor has found.

“International travellers want to explore uniquely different places,” said Peter Ellis, Tourism Research and Evaluation Manager at the Ministry of Economic Development. “Regional icons and clear points of differentiation are increasingly important to international holidaymakers - nearly as important as beautiful natural scenery. Domestic travellers tend to have different motivations – like taking time out or having fun.”

The survey also found that sources of travel information are changing fast. Travel guide books are being replaced by word of mouth and websites – whether run by the tourism industry or unofficially.

“Word of mouth seems to be crucial. Over the five years of the Regional Visitor Monitor, we’ve seen the level of satisfaction reported by travellers stay steady, or possibly gradually increase. However, this latest analysis suggests that tourists who are backpacking or camping are less satisfied with their trip than others. We’ll be looking closely to see if other research backs up this finding.”

Other findings
• Travellers report a range of customer satisfaction levels. In recent years, older and more affluent travellers have enjoyed their trips more than backpackers.
• The proportion of survey respondents using backpacker and hostel accommodation has dropped, although this may reflect changing survey responses rather than changing accommodation patterns.
• International travellers mostly travel to regions by direct international flights. Domestic travellers are also increasingly travelling by air, rather than private vehicle.
• International travellers participate in more defined recreational and cultural activities than do domestic travellers.
• Perceptions of the environmental performance of the studied regions have improved, while perceptions of transport have deteriorated.

The Regional Visitor Monitor was an annual survey of about 7200 international and domestic travellers using i-Site Visitor Centres in Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Canterbury, Queenstown, and Dunedin, undertaken by the Ministry of Economic Development and regional tourism agencies. The final report is available at http://www.tourismresearch.govt.nz/Data--Analysis/International-tourism/Regional-Visitor-Monitor---International-Visitors/.

ENDS

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