aucklandTourism New Zealand’s efforts in the past financial year contributed to the strong growth of New Zealand’s international visitor economy. Campaigns on social media as well as in China contributed to the rise in international visitors and tourist spend.

In the year ending May 2018 international visitor arrivals to New Zealand had increased by 5.3 percent, with holiday arrivals increasing by 6.5 percent. There was also continued growth in international visitors arriving in the off-peak months with a 5.6 percent increase on the previous year. Importantly, regional spend also increased by 14.1 percent.

Tourism New Zealand’s Chief Executive Stephen England Hall says it’s pleasing to see that the organization’s strategy to spread the benefits of international visitation into the regions is working.

“The regions are increasingly benefitting from the rise in international visitors with spend growth in the regions surpassing that of the gateways. Over the past 12 months, international visitors have injected $497 million into the regions.

“International visitors choosing New Zealand as a destination makes Aotearoa a better place for Kiwis. Beyond the significant economic benefits, it also grows employment, business opportunities and is the backbone of many communities.

Some key success areas for Tourism New Zealand in the past financial year include the #GetNZontheMap campaign, the Chef Nic campaign in China, and impressive business events results.

The #GetNZontheMap campaign which involved Prime Minister Jacinda Adern and comedian Rhys Darby proved extremely popular. After 10 million video views on social media and significant global media coverage, the estimated advertising value of the campaign came in at over $10 million, delivering a return on marketing investment of more than 600 percent.

Likewise, the Chef Nic campaign in China featuring well-known celebrity chef Nicholas Tse that showcased Hawke’s Bay and Taupō proved extremely popular. The content was viewed 47.5 million times and the estimated advertising value came in at $47 million. The campaign continues to impact visitor travel behavior as Chinese visitors replicate Chef Nic’s itinerary and explore showcased regions.

“These campaigns are examples of how we can use our marketing budget wisely to achieve an impressive return on investments. The #GetNZontheMap campaign exceeded our expectations and showed us that we can turn a quirky idea into a viral video and the Chef Nic campaign further proved the power influencers can have in the China market,” says Stephen.

Tourism New Zealand also helped to secure $96.6 million worth of business events in the last financial year, bringing the total value of wins over the past five years to $400million.

“The business events sector is important because it has the potential to grow the value of international visitors to New Zealand. Business events are often held in autumn and spring and in the regions. They are also an opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s cutting-edge research and hospitality on the world stage.”

Tourism New Zealand plans to build on this success in the new financial year by continuing to target near- and long-term value, including regional growth, managing its markets and sectors strategically, and working more with industry and government to improve experiences for visitors and Kiwis.