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Source: Lorna Thornber // 11:31, May 22 2020 From Stuff
Most Kiwis can think of at least one thing they’ve always longed to do in New Zealand but have never got around to.
Ticking off bucket-list hikes, taking the kids to the snow, seeing the "smelly mud pools" in Rotorua, swimming with dolphins and “maybe even surf[ing] with them,” are among the activities on the wish lists of the Kiwis who feature in Tourism New Zealand’s new domestic campaign.
TV presenter Toni Street said she’d like to “do the Routeburn Track but with all of the flash stuff like the wine and the lodge”.
With New Zealand’s borders closed to international tourists indefinitely, TNZ has switched its focus to encouraging New Zealanders to travel around the country.
The new domestic campaign, which launches Friday with the tagline “Do Something New, New Zealand”, is aimed at changing New Zealanders’ attitudes to holidaying at home.
"The tourism sector took a massive hit from Covid-19 and we just really want to get Kiwis out and about and trying something new," said TNZ chief executive Stephen England-Hall. "We’ve all got things that we’ve always wanted to see and do in New Zealand and this campaign shares some of those moments and gets people thinking “why not now?”.
Kiwis spent $9 billion a year on overseas travel before the Covid-19 pandemic and TNZ hopes the campaign will encourage people to spend as much on domestic holidays as they did overseas.
"Domestic tourism is vital to the recovery of the sector and the economy, especially with our borders closed at the moment," England-Hall said.
In addition to the new campaign, Stuff and Tourism New Zealand have entered an editorial support partnership that aims to inspire Kiwis to discover their best experiences at home. With Tourism New Zealand’s support, Stuff's #backyourbackyard campaign will reach an extensive New Zealand travel audience and encourage Kiwis to participate in the tourism economy.
Asked whether he thinks Kiwis will spend more on holidays at home, England Hall said: "Over time, it’s really about getting people to think of New Zealand as a destination.
"We live in one of the world’s most spectacular countries and every year a couple of million international visitors choose New Zealand as a holiday destination. New Zealanders often don’t think about New Zealand as a holiday destination. We often think about other places. So we want to say 'Hey, take a fresh look at New Zealand. Look at all the amazing things here that’s on offer and now’s the time to get out there and start experiencing it'."
Cricketer Martin Guptill, his wife and cricket show host Laura McGoldrick, radio host Sam Wallace and America’s Cup champion Peter Burling are among the other famous faces to feature in the campaign, which will run on mainstream and social media and on-demand streaming services.
Other activities on bucket lists in the video include taking a helicopter ride over Mount Cook, visiting Stewart Island and Fiordland, staying at Plateau Hut on Aoraki/Mt Cook, conquering a fear of the dark to go black water rafting and experiencing the Catlins - “I’m not sure what to do there apart from wear a warm jacket, but apparently it’s really beautiful.
“I want to go to Rotorua to see the smelly mud pools,” one little girl says.
“Go in a forest and see kiwis,” says another.
A recent Research First survey of 270 New Zealanders showed almost 40 per cent were planning a domestic break within three months of restrictions being lifted, but 60 per cent found the cost of tourism activities off-putting.
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has acknowledged operators would also need to come to the party over pricing to attract customers.
“People in tourism want visitors, but if they price themselves out of the market, they simply won't have that.”
While some operators, particularly at the higher end of the market, have said high operating costs make it difficult, if not impossible, to lower prices, others have offered big discounts to entice Kiwis to visit.
Before the pandemic, tourism was New Zealand's top export earner, with the 3.9 million overseas visitors who came here last year spending the equivalent of $47 million a day. Domestic travel made up the remaining 60 per cent of the $41 billion in total annual tourism spending.