NZ's 100% Pure and Google Earth in world first

By Owen Hembry

Tourism New Zealand's 100% Pure campaign has gone interstellar - or perhaps that's internetstellar - with a world first partnership with Google Earth.

The state-funded international tourism marketing body has provided data for a "layer" of information on visitor centres, points of interest and scenic highlights on Google Earth's photographic satellite map of the planet.

Links through to Tourism New Zealand's official consumer website can then provide greater information, including activities and accommodation.

Other "layers" for Google Earth had been developed including National Geographic and the United Nations Environmental Program but the latest addition was the first to be developed in partnership with a tourism authority.

Google's Craig Nevill-Manning, who unveiled the new overlay, said other countries were likely to follow the lead of Tourism New Zealand - who did not have to pay for the global exposure.

"It's a benefit to our users to be able to get high quality information when they're browsing around Google Earth and there's benefit for Tourism New Zealand to get their data out there," Nevill-Manning said.

"So it's kind of a win-win."

Google Earth had had about 200 million unique users since it was launched in 2005 and people planning a holiday could now make a virtual visit to New Zealand and get a real sense of the country, he said.

"I think it makes the world a bit smaller in a good way and I think that's to New Zealand's benefit."

Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor said it was a huge opportunity to be associated with the Google community.

"The partnership brings together Google's technology, reputation and popularity and the award-winning's credible and authentic content."

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