Rising international soul singing sensation Latasha Lee has given a nod to the Bay of Plenty in a video that is going viral online.
The Texas star was in Tauranga in January for the sold out One Love Festival in Tauranga Domain, along with other international acts including the UK's UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey, Hawaii's Kohole Kai and reggae royalty Ky-Mani Marley, along with Kiwi names Katchafire, and locals L.A.B. and crowd favourite Stan Walker.
Lee who played to a rapt crowd of 20000 was so enamoured with the Bay of Plenty she made a video 'My Soul Journey' to record her visit to Tauranga. The video features Lee being greeted traditionally, learning some te reo and the "good vibes all round" including a cute moment where a local woman gives her a flax-woven hat to protect her head from the Bay sun, prompting Lee to ask: "Are you sure you don't need it?", followed by a hug.
The 20-minute video, which has been shared more than 300 times, also shows her shopping and eating around Tauranga.
Tourism Bay of Plenty head of consumer marketing Kath Low said social media helps boost Tauranga's reputation around the world.
"VLOGs (video blogs) such as Latasha's are fundamental to helping build Tauranga's reputation as both an exciting and diverse destination, and a warm and welcoming city where world-class events are successfully hosted," Low said.
"We know that people have always loved sharing photos and videos taken of their travels. What social media has done is to facilitate and expand people's ability to share travel experiences with a wider audience more than ever before – a rapidly developing component alongside the traditional word-of-mouth.
"Fantastic eateries such as in CBK in Red Square and The Barrio Brothers, our world-renowned stretch of beach at Mount Maunganui and One Love Festival, all featured in the vlog, are just a snapshot of the amazing experiences our region has to offer," Low said.
One Love Festival organiser Pato Alvarez has this year been part of the organising crew behind a string of international acts to the region through gigs and festivals all summer, which has seen the likes of rap superstar Cardi B, disco legends The Jacksons, Sister Sledge, Kool and the Gang and The Pointer Sisters visit the Bay.
Cardi B's instagram post of her on the stage at Bay Dreams festival in Mount Maunganui reached more than three million people around the world.
Rockers Toto also fell in love with Tauranga Moana, greeted at Tauranga airport by local iwi in a powhiri that went viral, when they came for A Summer's Day LIve tour.
With the festival season almost over organiser Alvarez is already working on 2020, announcing from Bali he has already secured the first headline act for next year's One Love Festival.
One Love has gone in just a few years from being a local reggae festival, to what Stan Walker dubbed this year, the "best reggae festival in the world".
With this year's festival a roaring success, Alvarez will no doubt be bringing it back bigger and better next year, with Tauranga's attraction as a music destination growing, helped by international musicians like Lee, who are taking their positive experiences about the city and spreading it around the world.
Alvarez says his goal is not just bringing international music greats to Aoetearoa, but showcasing local Kiwi music to the world, as well as injecting millions into the local economy and tourist industries.