Archive for November, 2011
By David Perks
In Wellington we are so fortunate in having a city council who have built up a history of investing in tourism development and the marketing of the city. It all started with that Absolutely Positively catchy jingle; a story that is 20 years old this year!
But not everyone gets it. Tourism is often questioned by economists outside of the sector in regards to how productive it is to the economy. Regardless, tourism will continue to grow in New Zealand and around the world as more of the world’s population afford to travel, and as entrepreneurs continue to follow their dreams of setting up a business doing what they do for fun in a place they have dreamed of living and doing it. But as a nation we need to work together to make the most of the opportunity. There are two key components of the required investment – promotion of our destination and meeting and affording the costs being a destination places upon us.
There was a time when it seemed our tourism numbers would just keep on growing because we were a great place. But the latest trends show we have to fight every step of the way. Earlier this month competition for the international traveller’s dollar possibly got a whole lot harder, particularly for countries or regions that don’t have the people to provide the resources with which to compete.
Countries like New Zealand.
On November 7th in London, the new ‘Brand USA’ was launched. “So what?” you might say. People have been going to the USA for ages and aren’t countries always coming up with something new, how could this make a difference? Pretty simple - some of the world’s biggest tourism players are behind this. Behind those people sits a public sector budget of about US $200,000,000. And the plan is all about this being a partnership between nation, state, region and private enterprise. Presumably then the $200m is just the start of it. That public sector budget is paid for by an arrival tax of $14 on each visitor from countries where a visa isn’t required to enter the US. It will of course be used globally.
The US government has worked out that every extra 35 visitors to the US create one new full time job. They’ve also set themselves a target of getting back their share of visitor expenditure to what it was in 2000 – 17.2%. Making some easy assumptions this would get the promotional public budget up to about US $296,000,000.
The idea of partnerships is not new to us in Wellington. The whole business model for Positively Wellington Tourism is created around partnerships, and this has driven award-nominated domestic marketing, incredible trans-Tasman growth and a record-breaking winter and September. So could the model that we’ve been running, mixed with the US model, make sense for New Zealand?
The idea of an arrivals tax for international visitors to New Zealand for the purpose of tourism promotion has been raised a number of times over the years. But it’s tricky as we already charge $25 departure tax; it’s not long ago that everyone had to physically pay this as they left the country. And all this doesn’t make people happy! Thankfully Wellington Airport recently announced that in the future you’ll hopefully pay as part of your ticket.
But if those numbers the US has worked out are true, then we’d surely want part if the pie too. But how do we pay for it?
Growing up in Manchester, UK (another rather – like Wellington – cool city these days) my parents’ generation had battled for access to the countryside around the city. Seems like a bit of an old story today, but there was a song around in the 60s and 70s that told the story well.
The connection to our challenge here in New Zealand is that the prime reason international visitors come here is to enjoy our outdoors – and specifically the Department of Conservation’s estate. The Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand have in their recent manifesto asked that future governments retain freedom of access to the conservation estate, and I’m absolutely with them - I don’t think anyone should have to pay to go for a walk here anymore than where I grew up in Manchester. (Interestingly two generations later in the UK one of Tony Blair’s reforms was to virtually provide free access to the countryside to everyone.)
So it’s a real challenge for New Zealand. We know we live in a ‘user pays’ society but here’s something we don’t want to pay for and feel uncomfortable about charging for. But if we are going to preserve the sacred cow how can we resolve our issue?
Here’s some examples of ways funds can be raised:
:: Higher charges for tourism activities on estates through concessions (NZ)
:: Accommodation surcharges in communities providing access to National Parks
Each option has been used somewhere else and provided a way of paying for keeping the visitor economy going. Which way will we choose to pay? One way or another we need to find solutions to these challenges. We need to think of these two issues as a single challenge because together they will dictate the future productivity of our tourism sector and perhaps also the places in New Zealand we value most as residents of the country.
By Sarah Meikle
Visa Wellington On a Plate’s (VWOAP) third instalment is well and truly wrapped up for 2011. It was our biggest year yet – we had more DINE Wellington restaurant partners, more Festival Events, more Burger Wellington participants and voters and introduced two new concepts to the programme – the Wellington Bake Club, proudly sponsored by New World, and the inaugural Wellington Fisher & Paykel MasterClass! Phew – I’m tired just writing this list!
2011 Festival Objectives
- To maximise awareness of the VWOAP Festival.
- To raise the profile of food & beverage producers, manufacturers & suppliers.
- To educate all participants (both consumers & producers) of Wellington’s food story & economic potential.
2011 Festival Key Performance Indicators
- To maintain the number of participating restaurants in the DINE Wellington programme within 5% of 2010 levels (100).
- To maintain the number of Festival Events within 5% of 2010 levels (80).
- Encourage at least 30 Wellington Bake Club registrations.
- To maintain Burger Wellington registrations at 2010 levels (35).
- Attract at least three international media to cover VWOAP.
So how did we measure up?
- 102 DINE Wellington restaurant partners registered to take part in VWOAP.
- 80 Festival Events delivered (NB: some events were run multiple times).
- 70 Bake Clubs participated in the Wellington Bake Club.
- 49 Burger Wellington participants, with over consumer 3,800 text votes for the “Best Burger”.
- Over $800,000 worth of media generated.
- Key international results includes Australian Gourmet Traveller, www.Taste.com.au and Yahoo!7.
Down in the detail…
1. Public Relations & Media Results
|MEDIA TYPE||NUMBER OF RESULTS PRODUCED||AUDIENCE / CIRCULATION||ESTIMATED ADVERTISING VALUE|
VWOAP media coverage increased significantly between 2010 and 2011 with the number of actual media results increasing by 78%. New Zealand media result highlights included Kia Ora magazine and Dish magazine. In the digital space, highlights included coverage of the Wellington Fisher & Paykel MasterClass and the ’17 Days, 17 Dates’ blog, focusing on Burger Wellington.
2. Wellington Bake Club
The inaugural ‘Wellington Bake Club, proudly sponsored by New World’ was launched via VWOAP’s social media channels, four weeks before the commencement of the VWOAP Festival. The primary objectives of the Wellington Bake Club were to:
- Educate Wellingtonians about the wide range of locally produced products from within the region; and
- Build, engage and ‘create chatter’ within the local/regional audience in the Social Media space about the VWOAP Festival.
Bake Club’s presence within VWOAP social media channels was significant with 70 Bake Clubs entering this competition. Bake Club received a good level of media coverage including in the Dominion Post, a blog on Stuff.co.nz (“Hot Buns”) and features in REAL magazine (New World).
3. Wellington Fisher & Paykel MasterClass
The inaugural Wellington Fisher & Paykel MasterClass was held on Friday 19 August and ran as a single stream of five demonstrations. The change from two concurrent streams, with a total of six sessions, was necessitated by the late cancellation of Justin North, due to illness. The event attracted 98 participants to the most well attended session (85 was the least number of participants at any session).
From consumer surveys carried out on the day, Wellington Fisher & Paykel MasterClass participants were made up of 52% from the greater Wellington region, 36% from elsewhere in New Zealandand 12% from Australia.
Five key media were hosted at the event, they were all extremely positive about the experience.
What’s it worth?
Each year, VWOAP works with BERL to undertake an Economic Impact Assessment of the Festival. This year’s topline findings are:
- There were over 25,400 Festival-goers (up 47% on last year).
- The success of VWOAP has made it an iconic event on the Wellington Events Calendar, much like Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art Awards Show or the New Zealand International Sevens.
- Both Festival Event and Dine Wellington partners rated the Festival as a success, with Dine Wellington partners averaging a 17% increase in turnover and Festival Events netting $632,000 in ticket sales.
- More than 95% of Festival Event and Dine Wellington partners, and Festival-goers are interested in participating next year.
- This year, VWOAP created an additional 9 FTEs in the region.
- As well as filling a gap in the region’s events calendar and a slower period for the hospitality industry, VWOAP has also strengthened local supplier relationships and supported the development of the food and beverage sector in Wellington.
- VWOAP contributes to Wellington region marketing, both as the Cuisine Capital, but also as the Cultural Capital of New Zealand.
Thank you to our sponsors…
Operating a Festival like VWOAP would be near on impossible without the huge contributions made by our partners. We’d REALLY like to thank the following partners for making VWOAP 2011 possible…Visa, Air New Zealand, Kirkcaldie & Stains, The Radio Network, Bolton Hotel, Fisher & Paykel, Wellington InterContinental Hotel, BERL Economics, Armstrong Prestige, New World, Menu Mania and the Wellington City Council.
And a HUGE THANK YOU to our partners…
VWOAP is a festival for the industry, by the industry. Our immense thanks go out to all the Wellington regional food and beverage industry who participate in the DINE Wellington and Festival Events programme. You guys are awesome – thank you for your enthusiasm, originality and commitment to making this New Zealand’s premier food and wine event!
Roll on 2012…
Hungry for more? Mark 10-26 August 2012 in your diaries. To be kept up to date with what’s planned and to be the first to find out what’s in the Festival programme, subscribe to our KNOW enews.
By Sarah Meikle
I remember attending the very first Rugby World Cup 2011 planning meeting in Wellington not long after I started at Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) four years ago. RWC 2011 seemed so, so, so far away, but gosh how time flies as we now reflect back on the event that has been.
Love it or loathe it, RWC 2011 has left a pretty happy legacy for Wellington. We shone. Wellington just knows how to deliver events. Whether it’s because our city is neat and compact, you can walk to the Stadium, our hospitality areas are central, or the fact that the city knows what it needs to do to ensure that everyone has a good time, we delivered in the eyes of our visitors.
We are pretty lucky really – Wellington already has the reputation domestically as the ‘Events Capital’ of New Zealand courtesy of our creative and seamless event management, coupled with our fantastically positioned stadium. What events like RWC 2011 do though, is help turn tens of thousands of international visitors and viewers into raving ambassadors as well.
Delivering an event on the scale of RWC 2011 can’t be done alone. Literally thousands of people were involved in ensuring the smooth running of the tournament and associated events – Wellington City Council (as the lead), Wellington Regional Stadium (Westpac Stadium), Wellington Rugby Football Union, Greater Wellington Regional Council, New Zealand Police, PWT, all of the Councils from around the Wellington region, local rugby clubs, hundreds and hundreds of volunteers, i-SITE Visitor Information Centres, accommodation providers, attractions, activities, restaurants, bars, supermarkets, and the list goes on and on.
RWC 2011 in numbers
There are numbers aplenty to look at, and most have been widely reported. Jo’s earlier post gives you an idea on the media coverage, while David has offered insight into how the tournament affected international arrivals to New Zealand. Here’s a few other numbers you may not have seen:
- 57% – the increase in international guest nights in the Wellington region in September, a rise of 34,000 (Sourece: Statistics New Zealand). More on that here
- 200,000 – the number of special Wellington RWC 2011 maps distributed to visitors
- 436 – the number of official RWC 2011 street flags installed in Wellington city. This was the first time every single flag spot in the CBD has been used
- 67,218 – the number of visits to WellingtonNZ2011.com during the tournament
- Over 100,000 – the number of Wellingtonians who attended the All Blacks victory parade through the city
- RWC 2011 was a fantastic event that pulled New Zealanders together and created a spirit and vibe not seen in this country before
- Wellington was widely acknowledged to have provided the best host city experience for players, fans and media
What did we learn?
- There are rules, but you can work with them. This was the first major event where the Major Events Management Act (MEMA) was applied. Those businesses that took the time to understand what they could (and couldn’t) do within the MEMA actually realised that they could make it work for them.
- Wellington demonstrated once again that it can host major world class events. This will hold the capital in good stead in achieving its goal of being the major host city for the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2015. Plus we’ve got another world event in November 2012 with the world premiere of The Hobbit.
- Most visitors were here for the rugby! As soon as activity started in FanZones in the afternoons/early evenings, they headed straight there – as a result there were low levels of interest in general sightseeing in the afternoons (this is typical of ‘rugby visitor’ behaviour and we saw similar trends when the Lions toured in 2005).
- Overall, the rugby fans were a delight to deal with – good humoured and had a fair idea of what they wanted to do and when they wanted to do it.
- Everyone loves colourful bunting and flags!
What was the tourism and economic impact?
It’s fair to say, that not everyone was a winner out of RWC 2011. Ultimately visitors to Wellington were here to see rugby matches, but all was definitely not lost.
- A lot of restaurants and bars that put some effort in benefited significantly form the event. Others that didn’t judge the opportunity appropriately or were geographically disadvantaged found the going tough. The location and of restaurants and bars, relative to the Stadium and FanZone definitely had an impact on who did well out of the tournament.
- Many local Wellingtonians chose not to go into the city during RWC 2011. And we also know that a lot of regular business and meeting clientele stalled during the Cup. We have anecdotal feedback that a number of restaurants reported a weaker September/October in 2011 than 2010. While the FanZone was a huge success it did take away business from Wellington’s ”natural FanZone” – Courtenay Place.
- As half of Wellington’s games were played on a Sunday night, this reduced the opportunity to see locals frequenting downtown bars and restaurants on game day (NB: the games were scheduled for Sunday night to satisfy the northern hemisphere television audience and of course it’s in our industry’s interests that exposure was maximised offshore).
- The profile of the visitor was quite different from the DHL British Lions tour, which had far more couples. The RWC 2011 visitor seemed to be more “blokes on tour”. This meant that there was far less of an impact on the retail and high end restaurant sectors.
- In retrospect, the Bedbank that was created to ensure the IRB’s early concerns about hotel infrastructure in New Zealand were never confronted, was significantly over-sized. The number of rooms put aside in every location on every day throughout the tournament was simply far too large and impacted on the normal ebb and flow of the market too much effecting pricing and availability and therefore stifling demand.
- Paymark data suggests that there was good spend in New Zealand by the Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Argentineans and the French – none of that is money from markets we’d have expected in a ‘normal’ September or October, so this is a real positive. The key, as David points out in his blog post on the follow through, is what we do with this now.
- The visiting media loved Wellington!
It’s a word that has been touted a lot during RWC 2011, and there is a legacy from RWC 2011.
- Proud and passionate Wellingtonians who want to volunteer to help visitors and promote this city. The RWC 2011 volunteers were fabulous, enthusiastic and loved what they did. In fact, this was so successful that we’ve snaffled some of them to help out with the cruise season and are integral to the international visitors wonderful experience in Wellington.
- The greater integration and further improved working relationships between all the Wellington entities who helped make RWC 2011 happen.
- The French. If we can establish a long term market out of France, we’ll need operators to brush up on ‘parlez-vous Francais’.
- There are opportunities already arising to try and leverage the New Zealand International SevensTournament to some of these international markets.
Wellington shined during RWC 2011 and we can all pat ourselves on our backs for what was achieved. As a city, we looked great and as a community, we embraced the event, the visitors it brought to our city and the opportunity that it gave us, as Wellingtonians, to celebrate in a nationwide party. And man, we know how to party…
By David Perks
So now it’s all over and a couple of weeks have passed. Have you remembered that the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup?
A World of Opportunity
If there’s one industry sector that won’t forget New Zealand’s hosting of this event it is the Tourism and Hospitality sector. So much of the last few years has been spent considering what will or won’t be the value of the opportunity. Part of that discussion has been about the short term business opportunity; another part has been about the legacy effect of the event as the country gets airtime across a number of our key visitor source markets.
Throughout the tournament, we observed a variety of kicking styles. When taking a shot at goal, each team’s kicker had a different approach to their preparation, connection and follow through. Some were more flamboyant than others. Some were clearly more successful than others. New Zealand was, in the most part, extremely well prepared. The connection was struck beautifully. How do we all plan to follow through?
Now is the time the tourism sector – Tourism New Zealand, RTOs and the industry across New Zealand – needs to act. We all know that the most important task to complete having presented at a trade show, is the follow-up. This is no different. In Wellington we have seen some remarkable destination media coverage as a result of RWC 2011, but we still risk ending up with a narrow victory that nobody is quite sure about.
Numbers & New Markets
The International Visitor Arrivals to New Zealand in the six weeks to the 16th October (the day of the NZ v Aus RWC Semi Final) tell an interesting story, when compared to the same period last year.
Predictably, the largest numerical increase came from the Australian market, with an 18% increase of 22,485. Through the matches, the media and the Qantas Great Crusade, we have at last also shown off and celebrated the New Zealand city experience. Do we have consumer campaigns ready to go that promote the type of experience that was so enjoyed by our trans-Tasman neighbours during the tournament? For this one, the answer for Wellington is yes. Australia being our near neighbour means that regions can make a plan to do just this and make a positive difference to their visitor arrivals.
The next largest numerical increase in arrivals over the period came from the UK market, up 13,135 – or 92.7%. Whilst we all know that the UK is suffering financially and the pre-RWC 2011 numbers have reflected as such, it remains our number two market, delivering a very significant proportion of our visitors to New Zealand. The growth experienced during the tournament shows that, presented with the right motivation and opportunities, Brits will still travel. So do we have a plan to follow up the Rugby World Cup ‘tradeshow’ and work with the distribution networks in that country to convert the excitement we generated around the cup into visitors over the next decade?
More Than a Oui Bit of the French
For the first time we saw a really meaningful number of French visitors in New Zealand all at once. If you look at the numbers the French market has been quietly strengthening for some time – although not quite as it has for Australia. What’s the plan to maximise the opportunity provided to New Zealand in France? South African visitors also fell in love with New Zealand (regardless of their team’s result) - what’s our plan for developing that market in the future?
This week’s arrival of 450 North American travel writers, communicators and their associates for the Society of American Travel Writers convention in Wellington is fantastically timed. RWC 2011 will have had little impact in the US market – although arrivals were up 5.6% (or 800 people). Canadian visitation, on the other hand, was up 53%; from a smallish base of course – the total increase in arrivals was 1,792.
How our sector will and can assess the result in years to come, lies in our hands. We need to follow up with the right strategy and messaging to ensure the tournament is a driver of visitation not just for the past few months, but for the next decade – creating a legacy and driving long term results much as The Lord of the Rings has. The alternative? To sit back and wonder what all the hoopla was about as our traditional markets (where many of the teams and visitors came from) continue to slow as the global financial crisis drags on. Plus losing new and exciting opportunities.
I know which option I prefer. How about you?
By Jo Heaton
I’m sure when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, journalist would have featured on the list. Eventually I realised that copywriters and marketers get to make things up and that sounded fun-ner. Hosting RWC media recently reminded me I’d made a sensible choice – like Lance Armstrong’s large lungs and Phar Lap’s oversized heart, you need a genetic advantage processing alcohol to be a journalist!
Positively Wellington Tourism hosts lots of media – 75 different international files last year including Huffington Post, BBC UK and fashion titles like Marie Claire and Vogue, plus domestic and Australian media. They’re usually travel or lifestyle writers exploring Wellington’s arts and culinary scenes, covering key tourism experiences for Sunday travel pages and sometimes, TV crews filming culinary competitions or the Brancott Estate World of WearableArt Awards Show. Often, they’re visiting as part of Tourism New Zealand’s International Media Programme. We thought we knew media here at PWT team International .. and then we met the international sports contingent covering RWC2011.
TNZ provided national co-ordination, Regional Tourism Organisations applied local knowledge and contacts to giving the media something else to write about when journos weren’t at press conferences and training runs. We even had two of our team located within the stadium Media Centre. First task – welcome the media to Wellington. Fantastic Maori welcome at Te Papa, add alcohol and a diverse bunch of rugby-related Wellingtonians followed by the Opening Ceremony and All Blacks v Japan. David Perks and The Mayor welcomed the visitors to Our Place and invited them to make Wellington their place too. I kinda think Wellington succeeded there. Kevin McCallum wrote some great blogs during the tournament and has an impressive Twitter following of over 10,000 and 43,000 posts!
PWT devised a great plan of activities and excursions for media visiting Wellington. Then we realised sports media don’t follow itineraries – they follow Dan Carter’s groin and mouth guard scandals. Out with plans, in with improvising. A lot of improvising for foreign language media where Wellington was “the most Argentine city of them all” and the French regard us as a ‘human-sized capital’.
When the Scots got a day off, they spent it ‘researching’ the Classic NZ Wine Trail for a story in The Scotsman. “There is also a potent Scots connection around Wellington, perhaps unsurprisingly, linked with alcohol.” Our Destination Wairarapa colleagues even managed Sir Brian Lahore for an impromptu appearance.
“The NZ Navy is in port – can we get onboard?” Apparently you can. Two calls earnt this note from Zeena at South African Broadcasting Corp who covered cafes, quad bikes and HMNZS Resolution. “I just wanted to convey our thanks on behalf of SABC for all your help to get us a few awesome colour pieces in Wellington. You guys have been rock stars!”
Wellington played its part in the stadium of four million, as did Petone Rugby Club. One of my favourite memories will be introducing a group of French journalists to former All Black captain, Andy Leslie, then watching them recite his career history back to him.
French, beer tours for the Irish and Wellywood for many. Spotting a kiwi was popular. “Before we get to Auckland, I must pay tribute to the people at Zealandia inWellington, where we spent three hours in the darkness with a motley crew of visitors from across the globe searching for a kiwi. Wellington Tourism set up the media with some fantastic opportunities around the great little capital city and finding a kiwi was a must. Zealandia is one of the most impressive natural habitats ‘created’ by man I have seen, in an effort to restore parts of the country to its most colourful natural state and encourage wild life to thrive.” (David Ferguson, The Scotsman)
Controversial writer Mark Reason of the UK Daily Telegraph took in I, George Nepia at Circa Theatre which resulted in one of the more cerebral pieces and arts featured in EuroSports France rugby coverage too. Maurice Bennett, aka The Toast Man, provided a quirky angle for media with his toast portraits immortalising the games greats. Unlike many nationalities who were in New Zealand for six or seven weeks, the Australians seemed to fly in and fly out, but ninemsn were still wild about Wellington’s food, art and outdoor activities.
More media results will arrive through TNZ’s media monitoring process and these links represent a just small sample of stories we sourced. An understanding of the offside rule excepted, I learnt a lot during the Rugby World Cup.
- If I’m holding a glass, I’m ‘off the record’ (still pays to check!)
- South African journalists have an uncanny ability to find really dodgy bars.
- No experience is wasted – a conversation with sports journalists can cover misery memoirs, world politics, the Tour de France and good hairdressers in under an hour.
- Some writers were turning out 5-7 stories a day for multiple outlets plus blogging and tweeting. If I was a journalist, I’d work for a travel glossy with months to turn in a piece!
- Less than 1% of sports journalists I met during the tournament are tee-total. Fact.
- Ask any Wellingtonian, from ex-All Blacks to one-man tour operators to host media, and they’ll represent the city with stories, passion and generosity.
To quote David Ferguson, “(Tourism) is where one feels this incredible country will benefit most from hosting the Rugby World Cup…New Zealand has opened the eyes of the world to its delights, and I confidently predict that many, many people will return here. Put in on your ‘bucket list’ now. Thank you for your hospitality New Zealand.”
RWC media loved Wellington and Wellingtonians. My favourite, “Wellington tourism opened their arms to the South Africans and embraced us. The different New Zealand tourist people we have met thus far might just be the best in the world.”
And the best in the world – well, that’s you, folks. Tourism operators, volunteers and Wellingtonians who shared their city and stories with the world during RWC2011.