Grant Bradley

Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Push to tickle tourists' tastebuds

Sachie's Kitchen TV show host Sachie Nomura (left) with social media personality Marischka Prudence.
Sachie's Kitchen TV show host Sachie Nomura (left) with social media personality Marischka Prudence.

Auckland Airport is backing a push to attract food tourists to New Zealand from emerging markets.

It has helped Sachie's Kitchen TV show's Sachie Nomura host a group including high-profile Indonesian social media personality Marischka Prudence, journalists and travel industry executives on a gourmet tour of New Zealand.

More tours are planned, including hosting visitors from China.

Nomura shared an Auckland Airport tourism award in September with a total of $200,000 worth of marketing support and business development help.

"I've always wanted to be a bridge between the East and West. I love showing Kiwis how easy it is to cook Eastern food. This tour crosses back, letting Asian people know how wonderful and fresh New Zealand food is," Nomura said.

Destinations during the tour included wineries and top restaurants. Josh Emmett's Ostro in Auckland and Rata and Madam Woo in Queenstown, and Hawkes Bay vineyards Craggy Range and Mission Estate were included in the itinerary.

Her website also shows her at Queenstown's famous Fergburger.

Prudence conducted a live online chat about her gourmet tour from Auckland, with her Indonesian followers in an entertainment lounge at one of Jakarta's biggest shopping malls.

Glenn Wedlock, Auckland Airport's general manager of aeronautical commercial, said the promotion is part of Auckland Airport's Ambition 2020 strategy and is focused on driving inbound tourism growth by stimulating Indonesian awareness of independent and semi-independent high-end travel options in New Zealand.

"Indonesia represents a major opportunity for New Zealand.

"Our Ambition 2020 strategy targets 38,900 Indonesian arrivals into New Zealand by 2020 and we have already experienced good growth from the Indonesian market," he said.

In the year to January 2014 there were 13,600 Indonesian arrivals, up 10 per cent on the year before.

Chinese visitors put food as the third most important factor when choosing a destination behind safety and security and scenery, Wedlock said.

Tourism New Zealand's director of marketing, Andrew Fraser, said there was a growing focus on specialty interests such as golf, fly fishing, cycle touring and luxury travel.

Food was grouped with wine and those identified as participating in those activities were bigger spenders than the average international visitor.

"With food and wine what the data is currently telling us is people aren't coming down specifically to spend their holiday on that - it's part of their holiday," he said.

"[But] those people are spending more time and spending more money in the country."

Phil Parker of Fine Wine & Food Tours said the country needed to push food and wine to visitors.

"We've got some of the best wines in the world and fresh produce. I think they come here with no great expectations but go away hugely impressed."

Spreading the word

Marischka Prudence has more than 80,000 Facebook fans, and used bilingual (Bahasa Indonesian and English) website, www.luxurynz.co.id, and a Luxury NZ Facebook page to document her time in NZ.

Auckland Airport is running a number of other promotions in Indonesia in conjunction with an Indonesian tourism wholesaler including a special gourmet food travel package to New Zealand, competitively priced against similar products to Australia, the Americas and Europe.

- NZ Herald

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