Brian Kelly: Let's start marketing our city

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During the week a couple of television commercials that I heard caught my attention and had me asking the question: "Is Tauranga missing out?"

The commercials were 30 seconds long promoting two of our biggest cities.

One was for Auckland. The ad went along the lines of no passport required and extolled the virtues of the City of Sails.

Obviously it was directed at the domestic market with the theme of no passport required.

I found it quite catchy although if you were going to holiday in Auckland you need a fair bit of patience if you are driving, plus a few extra bucks to pay for parking when you arrive.

As an aside, I parked at Auckland domestic terminal last Saturday night.

Arrived in the short-term stay carpark at 6.25pm and picked up my car on Sunday morning at 7.30. Thirty-six dollars, thanks.

Should have taken the bus. Might not have needed a passport but a bank loan could have been on the cards.

On the same evening another commercial popped up, this time pushing Wellington as "the greatest little capital in the world" and inviting visitors to spoil themselves by visiting.

At the moment there appears to be quite a drive to get New Zealanders to stay at home and visit some of our own wonderful destinations. I heard a radio commercial the other day pushing all the fun that you can have by visiting Rotorua. Again, aimed at us Kiwis.

With Air New Zealand offering all sorts of Grab-a-Seat deals on a regular basis to most destinations around the country, why would you stay at home?

It is pleasing to hear and see commercials extolling the virtues of our beautiful country and encouraging us to stay here and not pop off for a week in Fiji or the Gold Coast or Hawaii, even though there are some amazing travel deals around at the moment.

There used to be a saying: "Don't leave home until you've seen your country first".

I wonder just how many people have yet to visit the South Island or have travelled north to the Bay of Islands. Hearing those tourism commercials made me think: is Tauranga missing out?

We are getting to the time of year when families in particular are thinking about their Christmas holidays and what they are going to do.

The Bay of Plenty is a wonderful family destination, with our beautiful coastline and surf beaches. Added to that, attractions such as Waimarino Adventure Park, Kiwi 360 and the All Terrain Park just to name a few, plus iconic events such as the Half Ironman, Mills Reef Stars Under the Stars, and almost nightly speedway action through the December/ January holiday break.

There are plenty of reasons to add the Bay to your holiday destination.

Just recently, Tourism Bay of Plenty has appointed a new general manager.

Rhys Arrowsmith has come from successfully marketing Rotorua International Airport, so one hopes that Mr Arrowsmith will be able to lift the profile of the Bay and get our tourism numbers up.

We certainly took a bit of a hit last year with the Rena disaster, along with the pretty appalling summer that we ended up having, so we can only look forward to a much better summer this year.

Our area is the envy of many visitors. Whenever you talk to someone from out of town and you tell them where you are from, the reaction is always the same ... What a lovely place or I would love to live there.

So let's get out there and start marketing our city and the beautiful Bay.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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