While many Kiwis might be suffering from Middle-earth fatigue, Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand certainly aren't, because, due to the rise in visitor numbers on the back of their recent marketing partnership—and in particular, the activity around The Hobbit movies—the pair have announced a $20 million extension to the deal.
The pair signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year to undertake joint marketing activity for one year to promote travel to New Zealand in key international markets and each of them put $10 million into the pot. The partnership will now continue through financial year 2015 and will extend co-operative marketing activity to include Singapore and South East Asia, in support of Air New Zealand’s proposed alliance with Singapore Airlines.
- Read more about the leveraging of the Hobbit movies here.
"Working together to capitalise on this momentum is a natural progression that will positively impact New Zealand’s tourism industry and is a wonderful example of collaboration which supports the Tourism Industry Association’s Tourism 2025 framework for growth,” says Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon. “Our joint activity to market The Hobbit films offshore has been incredibly successful. The most recent campaign resulted in not only strong fare sales but also showed the activity really resonated with our target audiences, with a recent survey showing 14 percent of holiday arrivals were influenced to travel to New Zealand by the movies."
Visitor arrivals are up more than five percent to 2.75 million international visitors in the year to March. And, notably, says Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler, the growth is being driven by holiday arrivals from the key markets that the agreement enabled increased joint activity in, including China, the UK, Europe and North America, as well as new priority emerging markets India and Indonesia.
"We know that working in partnerships extends the reach and effectiveness of our campaigns, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Air New Zealand to build on the positive results we have achieved to date," says Bowler.
Under the MoU, Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand will each invest another $10 million over the next 12 months in co-operative marketing activity in the key markets of Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, North America, the United Kingdom and Europe as well as increased activity in emerging markets such as India, Indonesia and Latin America. The activity will also target high-value visitors targeting the lucrative premium and business events sectors.
In a story on Stuff, Bowler was quoted as saying research by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) backed the worth of The Hobbit movies.
"If we go back to two years ago, the growth was all about China. The only real market was China. The US was flat, the UK was going backwards, Germany was pretty flat. Now, in today's terms, we've got growth from all those markets, and we've got the continuation of the Asian story ... [NZIER] came back to us and said the thing that's making the difference is Middle-earth. It's really cutting through. You've got this huge interest in these films and [without it] ... in some markets you would have gone backwards."
Air New Zealand backed up its belief in partnerships earlier this week when it signed an MoU with New Zealand Winegrowers have to actively promote New Zealand as a destination for wine tourism.
Air New Zealand has worked closely with New Zealand Winegrowers for almost three decades as the naming rights sponsor of the country’s premium wine competition the Air New Zealand Wine Awards. The MoU means the pair will commit to work together on a range of initiatives to promote New Zealand wine in both North America and Asia, including a nationwide promotion with a top US retail brand, and a series of consumer and trade events in the US, Canada and China.
The agreement will also see Air New Zealand and New Zealand Winegrowers work together to host international food and wine media on familiarisation tours to New Zealand.
“Over the past five years more than a million international visitors have experienced New Zealand’s stunning vineyards and wineries and many, many more people around the world have sampled our world class wines," says Luxon. "The opportunity to team up with New Zealand Winegrowers to further grow visitation from offshore regions is one that will no doubt bring further economic benefit to New Zealand.”
Philip Gregan, chief executive of New Zealand Winegrowers, says wine tourists spend 30 percent more than average tourists in New Zealand and stay for longer, so they're valuable visitors. And it also reflects "the premium nature of New Zealand wine in our overseas markets".
Speaking of partnerships, Air New Zealand recently released a behind the scenes look at some of its partnerships, including shoots with the All Blacks and World of Wearable Arts.