Don't forget the North Island, Oz told

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Tourism New Zealand is trying to attract Australians to visit North Island spots like the Waitomo Caves. Photo / Supplied
Tourism New Zealand is trying to attract Australians to visit North Island spots like the Waitomo Caves. Photo / Supplied

A campaign has been launched across the Tasman in a bid to attract more Australians to spend time in the North Island.

Over the next month, commuters passing through one Sydney's Town Hall train station would be confronted by images of North Island "hidden gems".

The promotion was being carried out Tourism New Zealand, the Central and Upper North Island Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) and key travel partners.

Images of places like Waitomo Caves, Waiheke Island, Cape Reinga, and the Tongariro Crossing had already featured on the homepages of Australian news and entertainment websites over the past week.

The campaign worked to showcase a range of experiences available within close proximity to one another, said Tourism New Zealand's general manager of Australia Tim Burgess.

"The campaign aims to grow holiday arrivals into the North Island during the campaign period, as well as increase the length of stay and the number of regions visited.

"The central and upper North Island is packed with hidden gems and this campaign will help to tell our story and raise awareness amongst Australians of what they can discover and enjoy here."

In the year ended December 2011, the most popular regions among Australians on holiday were Auckland, Canterbury and Queenstown. Other areas like Hawke's Bay and the Waikato were at the bottom of the list.

In the year ended June 2012, the average amount spent by an Australian visitor in the North Island only was $1551. This compared to an average spend of $2333 in the South Island only.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) manager Tourism Jason Hill said the partnership approach was a great way for the RTOs to collectively market to Australians.

Qantas and Flight Centre were also key partners, providing deals and promoting the campaign.

Burgess said the campaign was based on the South Island Road Trip campaign held in Australia last year which helped to mitigate the decline in Australian arrivals into the South Island.

Australia was currently New Zealand's largest international visitor market with 1,175,632 visitors in the year ending July 2012.

Visitors from Australia spent a total of 4,140,529 nights in the country in the year to June 2012. Of these, 1,481,146 were nights in the North Island alone, and 1,257,935 in the South Island alone.

Total expenditure was $835 million in that year, of which $271 million was spent in the North Island alone and $273 million in the South Island alone.

Campaign advertising would be direct people to Tourism New Zealand's consumer site newzealand.com.

- HERALD ONLINE

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