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One man band wins $25,000 tourism Asia marketing fund

One man band wins inaugural $25,000 tourism Asia marketing fund

Dunedin-based tourism operator secures marketing and business development support as part of Auckland Airport’s Ambition 2020 programme

Denis Page, owner of Si Fang Luxury Travel, has been given the opportunity to put his Asian tourism business strategy into action thanks to winning a Tourism Asia Marketing Fund competition.

Run by Auckland Airport, the Tourism Asia Marketing Fund provides Mr Page with $25,000 of marketing support and business development assistance – including a development trip to Asia with the Auckland Airport team.

As a small business owner, Mr Page says this kind of support is invaluable and is preferable to cash prizes.

“I started my own company three years ago now and I oversee everything, from finance to customer service. Being a jack of all trades can be difficult, so the opportunity to have access to expertise such as marketing and business development was a huge incentive,” says Mr Page.

“I have been working on a plan to break into, and be successful with, the high-end Chinese market for the past two years, so entering this competition was just a matter of extending my business plan. As a small company based in Dunedin I never thought I would have a chance, so to be awarded first place his hugely rewarding and also reassuring as it reinforces that I am on the right track.”

As part of Auckland Airport's Ambition 2020 programme, the Tourism Asia Marketing Fund is designed to build growth in key tourism markets, such as China, Indonesia and Taiwan. The airport plans to continue working with local tourism operators to achieve greater value from visitors to New Zealand, and will be running the competition again next year.

According to Glenn Wedlock, General Manager Aeronautical Commercial at Auckland Airport, Ambition 2020 has been extremely successful to date and represents the airport's commitment to investing in key markets and increasing tourism in New Zealand.

"Ambition 2020 is our plan for the next decade of growth in the tourism sector. It outlines our growth ambitions for New Zealand visitor arrivals and spend – building on and extending our current forecasts and to date we have seen a hugely positive reaction from the sector. Events such as TRENZ and Queenstown Winterfest, as well as visits from international celebrities such as Farah Quinn, Haiyin Chen and Dong Xuan, have meant we have started with a hiss and a roar – our goal is to maintain this momentum and build on our recent successes,” says Mr Wedlock.

Ziptrek Ecotours (Queenstown) and Bularangi Motorbikes (Coromandel) tied for second place and were each awarded $5,000 in marketing support.

Ali Howie, one half of Bularangi Motorbikes, says the company’s Asian business strategy has been steadily gaining momentum and she is hugely excited about the second place win.

“It was the tourists we had during the Rugby World Cup that started our brains ticking, and from there we started developing a business strategy to target the Asian markets, looking in particular at Indonesia. Entering this competition was merely a matter of building on our current activity and the association with Auckland Airport was one of the strongest incentives."

Equally, Trent Yeo from Ziptrek Ecotours says it is important to work with organisations that have similar visions and Auckland Airport is leading the way into these developing markets.

“We see a huge opportunity in the Asian markets, in particular with China which is where we are primarily focused at this stage. This marketing support will be very helpful when looking at the functionality of our product, our current offering and building relationships with people in New Zealand and Asia.”

The competition was judged by members of Auckland Airport’s Aeronautical Commercial team in conjunction with TravConsult, international customer service and tourism development specialists. The judges looked for companies that had viable marketing strategies, strong forward planning, demonstrated innovation and an understanding of the target market, and either took a multi-channel approach or in-depth thinking in one channel.

“There were some very strong entries which made the judging extremely difficult. The winners though have shown innovation and commitment to building their businesses in the Asian markets. We are dedicated to backing these companies and driving the expansion of our industry and the New Zealand economy," says TravConsult’s Trevor Lee.

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