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Award Recognises Shift In Travel Marketing

National Award Win By Jasons Recognises Paradigm Shift In Travel Marketing

Tourism operators in New Zealand need to embrace the Internet or they risk falling short of their full potential, according to New Zealand's leading travel publisher.

Winning a prestigious American Express New Zealand Tourism Award is recognition of how they capitalised on the dramatic changes the Internet has brought to travel marketing, says Jasons Travel Media managing director and publisher, John Sandford.

Jasons Travel Media won the Media, Communications and Technology section (and $5000 worth of Air New Zealand travel to assist with international marketing) with its hugely popular web site, Jasons New Zealand Travel Channel (http://www.jasons.co.nz).

Mr Sandford says the growth of the Internet has moved Jasons to focus on a dual media approach in everything it does. Formerly Jason Publishing Ltd, the company was recently renamed as Jason Travel Media to better reflect its changed emphasis.

"Print applications still have real value in the travel industry but it is the explosion of the Internet which has been our biggest and most exciting opportunity," Mr Sandford says.

"When we went online in early 1996 there were only about 30 million people connected to the Internet worldwide. Now there are nearly 200 million - a sixfold increase in just three years."

Jasons own online growth has been exponential, rising from just over 3000 user sessions in late 1996 to over 80,000 per month in only three years.

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"We are now New Zealand's largest aggregated travel site with over 4000 individual operator listings," Mr Sandford says.

The Internet has enabled Jasons to leverage the information it collects for its traditional 40 plus print publications to reach a growing worldwide audience.

"Reaching clients in their homes before they travel has traditionally been difficult and expensive. Now clients can search Jasons New Zealand Travel Channel for accommodation, attractions and events, contact the operators directly or use the site's rich directional content, maps, photo library and book store all in a secure environment."

Jasons expects to reach over 10 million visitors via its print solutions in 1999 and around two million online, but Mr Sandford believes the ratio will be 50:50 within two or three years.

Jason Travel Channels were extended in 1997 and 1998 to cover Australia (www.jasons.com.au) and the South Pacific islands (www.pi- travel.com) respectively.

Currently, total traffic for all three sites totals over 120,000 user sessions per month (1.44 million annualised) and 5.4 million hits (64.8 million annualised).

The company also operates the largest brochure distribution network in New Zealand.

ENDS....

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