Prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Australia accounted for over 40% of international visitation to New Zealand and $2.7bn of the international tourism expenditure. With the recently announced border reopening dates, New Zealand tourism operators will soon be able to welcome Australian visitors again, another step in reconnecting with the world in 2022. Tourism New Zealand has worked across the course of the pandemic to keep brand New Zealand at the front of offshore buyers’ minds and with clear border reopening dates is now shifting focus to converting demand and generating commercial impact.
In this Discussing Tourism webinar, Tourism New Zealand’s Andrew Waddel, General Manager – Australia, as he and his team present an update on the current state of play in Australia and plans to grow visitors and value, maximizing their contribution and accelerating New Zealand recovery.
On track to recovery but challenges remain
- War in Europe which leads to Inflation
- Specific to Australia: Increasing tensions with China, floods (largest disaster Australia has ever seen)
- Upcoming elections: Elections will take Australians minds off travelling
- Omicron – end of peak but concerns remain
New Zealand has held its preference due to strong past work and continued presence. Travel is now more normal for Australia as consumers confidence is returning
BUT confidence will take time to build as barriers are real:
- Consumers want more clarity for international travel
- Market is extremely noisy and cluttered - NZ is up against other destinations (Bali, Fiji, Domestic)
- Australia Domestic market is competitive – domestic push to stay in Australia is very strong
- Residual distrust in travel with NZ due to borders open / closed, the confidence in the trans-Tasman needs to be built.
- Airlines had hyper extended (overreach) in domestic, confidence will come back when airlines put more capacity internationally.
- Other countries reopening before NZ has had an impact.
- Pent up demand doesn’t translate to action yet
- Challenges in trade: less agents and less time
Australians can get back to NZ from April 13
- Australia is the easiest market to convince and convert with borders reopening (proximity, short stays…)
- Opportunity to accelerate and capitalize on “first to fly”
- Australia to fill pipeline from April on but it will be slow and steady.
- May and June are usually “low” months for the Australian market.
- Opening in Aprils is positive, this gives a good length of time to target winter holiday travel, VFR (Visiting Friends & Relatives) and Business travel but more importantly spring and summer seasons.
- Shifting the sentiment with media = positive
- Building confidence which change of messaging to get Australians ready to travel as NZ is now open.
- Media provides a shortcut for advocacy of New Zealand.
- Heavy weight campaigns to make sure NZ is top of mind.
- The next step is to have a dynamic media creative approach and be more flexible in market with shorter timeframes for implementation.
- Ski first, it represents 20% of the entire activity. The goal is to convert that travel intent into bookings which will help for shoulder and summer season.
Trade activity is very busy:
Lots of recruitment happening in Trade.
TNZ has continued training trade:
- Provide agents with tools and info to empower them to convert
- B2B evergreen campaign – drive traffic to newsletter
- NZ specialist program
- Marketing hub
- Virtual events (900 agents trained up to now)
How to make the best of working with TNZ:
- Update newzealand.com
- Update RTO
- Update your own channels (videos, social, website…)
- Don’t forget about TRENZ connect as an ongoing platform to connect with buyers
- Upload Australian DEALS
- Make sure you are in touch with trade