I’ve spent most of this week at TRENZ gallivanting around the Cloud and the Shed on Auckland’s Queen’s Wharf.
In the Cloud we had the North Island and the Shed was South. The walkway between should have been named Cook Strait but wasn’t.
About 1000 people were there to hear the latest news from New Zealand’s travel industry and for international buyers to meet kiwi operators and hook up some partnerships.
Here are a few of the best things I uncovered this week:
Firstly a big shout out to Paul from Epic Cycle Adventures at Ruapehu for the best USB stick in show! It’s a mini me.
And runner up was Cadbury World with this chocolate USB containing all sorts of news about their Dunedin factory, including the new cafe where you can inject warm chocolate into your brioche or marshmallow into your hot chocolate.
But more importantly for the rest for the rest of New Zealand was the announcement by Air New Zealand and the Tourism Industry Association signing an MOU to each put up $10 million into a joint venture to promote NZ internationally. They did the same this last year and the results were obviously so good, they’re at it again.
Another announcement I thought was great was from the Prime Minister John Key, also Minister of Tourism, confirming that the cycleway initiative is paying off with 100,000 people riding the cycle tracks around the country in January alone.
But quite possibly the best and most practical development is the partnership between Auckland International Airport (AIAL) and a company called TravConsult. Based in Australia, they were here to offer a free tool to NZ operators and suppliers on how to tell their unique stories to the lucrative and emerging Chinese market through New Zealand’s four seasons.
I found the concept refreshing and new. This is the chance for say a restaurant in Queenstown to have this company work with them on how to tell their story through our 4 seasons and the 5 senses, which is the way they do it in China. Learning to tell our stories the way Chinese people can relate.
For example, take Spring in New Zealand and the lamb that we serve which can look like art on a plate. (Personally I think NZ’s excellent cuisine is underrated in our tourism messages!) So, understanding that food and everything else that Chinese visitors love about New Zealand relates to a story, we talk of our grass fed spring lambs, from farm to table but not just as a sentence on the top of a menu, but a detailed story.
Chinese travel agents will use this site to build itineraries for their clients about where to visit in NZ.
Autumn colours are another strong season for Chinese travellers. If your town turns red and gold during April and May, then these guys will help you tell your story, relating our heritage and cultural significance, translating it into Chinese and also in Japanese in the initial roll out for Asian travel agents to include in their client itineraries.
There doesn’t need to be a shoulder or low season with this concept, each season has a story, told through each operator. Awesome.
A series of free workshops on how to tell your story will be happening around NZ in the coming months, sponsored by Auckland Airport. Click here for more info on who Lilly and Trevor from TravConsult are and what they do.
If you are wanting more international visitors (and business), this is an exciting opportunity.