New tourism campaign

The general manager of Northland Inc Tourism, Brian Roberts, says the organisation is about to launch a region-wide campaign aimed at boosting the number one Auckland market.

Mr Roberts applauded the recent Fullers GreatSights Bay of Islands initiative 'Freedom Fridays' which promotes the Bay of Islands and hoped other commercial operators would get on board. Fullers GreatSights Bay of Islands general manager Charles Parker said that while it was the company's own campaign, it was collaborating with other tourism businesses to entice the large Auckland market northwards.

"We're thrilled with the response from our fellow businesses," Mr Parker said.

A surprising finding of the company's pre-campaign research was that many Aucklanders considered the Bay of Islands a luxury destination, he said. In recent years, the cost of accommodation and excursions had dropped but the message had not got through to the biggest market for whom a weekend in a location rich in culture, history and scenery was accessible, he said. Mr Parker, whose company runs sightseeing operations throughout the Far North, said the Bay of Islands was a brand in its own right. "We're here, we understand our success is largely dependent on the success of the Bay of Islands."he said.

"We're hoping it (Freedom Fridays) will get legs. We'll push it for a month and wait and see where it goes from there."

- Northern Advocate

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