Archive for January, 2012
By David Perks
As I mentioned in my last blog, the tourism sector in New Zealand is often challenged about being a low productivity industry. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the capital that is invested in tourism isn’t fully utilised because of the seasonal nature of travel.
There’s a number of ways we can tackle this, but we need to be very clear that to do so is an amazing challenge – one we will, quite honestly, never wholly fulfil. We also need to be aware that it’s not just a New Zealand phenomena – Spain, for example, gets 40% of its tourist visitor arrivals in three months of summer.
For Wellington there is more hope than for more traditional summer destinations. Just like Barcelona we do being a city. Wellington does not rely solely on the great outdoors to attract visitors and has the capability and capacity to attract visitors for all kinds of reasons and seasons – events, conventions, business, city breaks, etc. At the heart of Wellington’s success has been its coming of age as the urban destination for New Zealanders taking a domestic break.
Wellington has concentrated its promotional investment for 20 years into attracting the domestic visitor. As we have learned from the Fly Buys/Colmar Brunton Mood of the New Zealand Traveller survey, time and again Wellington is winning this battle; the capital repeatedly features as the destination most likely to be visited by New Zealanders.
Those domestic visitors are these days being complemented by an ever growing number of Australians. For Australians, travelling to New Zealand is little different in regards to investment of time or money to travelling interstate. Whilst many Australians may indeed like the idea of exploring New Zealand over a long holiday, the reality is that most are time poor and much more likely to visit for just a few days – perhaps combining a leisure trip with business or attending a convention.
The interesting thing is that whilst we think of New Zealand on the international stage as being all about rural landscapes, wilderness and the great outdoors, for most Kiwis and our Aussie cousins the reality is we prefer an urban break – we like to shop, to eat in good restaurants, drink in cool little bars, and attend a show or exhibition.
It’s demonstrating this urbanity through activities such as our WLG restaurants in Sydney and more recently Melbourne, through our events such as Brancott Estate World of WearableArt Awards Show and of course having the Phoenix out there every week that has got Australia talking about Wellington. We also all know that The Lord of the Rings, Weta and of course the upcoming The Hobbit have and will continue to do much for Wellington and its growing reputation as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’.
Airline connectivity is important for all our main centres and first and foremost that means connections to other Australasian cities. It is through working with airlines that cities and regions can increase the load factors that those planes enjoy – bringing business people, students, convention delegates and yes, holidaymakers, to our city.
Tourism New Zealand tell us that our country competes with the US,UK and Europe in the Australian market, and perhaps we do when it comes to a full-country long visit. But where we believe Wellington’s success lies is in thinking of Aussies as being not all that different to Kiwis. We back up our brand campaign in Australia with an array of targeted activity, offering lots of reasons to travel more often for short breaks. We hit them from a range of directions through partnerships with media and trade, airline activity, through our own databases, and off the back of media famils. And if the record winter we recently had in Wellington is anything to go by, the swings of seasonality can be turned.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 55 trips to carry that many people.