Tourism New Zealand has launched a new bid to motivate Australians - formerly this country's biggest international visitor market - to head across the Tasman.
The campaign features an Australian who dreams about New Zealand and is then guided through a range of NZ attractions, including national parks and stargazing with a surreal giant kiwi.
The $4.5 million campaign could help contribute to a big payoff. Tourism NZ estimates that the resumption of quarantine-free transtasman travel could bring in $1 billion for the economy by the end of the year.
"The work seeks to inspire Australians to stop dreaming and encourage them to seize the opportunity to come to New Zealand," says the government agency's newly appointed chief executive, Rene de Monchy.
Tourism NZ's research indicates that:
• 77 per cent of Australians who are actively considering travelling to New Zealand will come to holiday
• 27 per cent want to visit family and 15 per cent to visit friends.
• Just on 60 per cent of Australians actively considering a holiday indicated they are willing to come to New Zealand within six months of borders reopening.
More than half of Australians are motivated to have a holiday that includes fun and enjoyment (56 per cent) and to relax and refresh (53 per cent). This presents a great opportunity for operators and businesses to offer experiences that appeal to that desire, he says.
"Despite record numbers of Kiwis 'doing something new' and travelling domestically, there is an estimated $12.9 billion annual gap from the loss of international visitors."
The return of Australian visitors would help reduce this gap, with domestic and Australian travellers together making up about 70 per cent of the pre-Covid visitor market.
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"The campaign is designed to tap into people's renewed desire to explore and showcases New Zealand's natural environment, experiences and the warm welcome of our people," de Monchy says.
"We are seeing longer itineraries being booked by Australians, which helps support travel to more remote locations within New Zealand."
The three-month campaign launches tomorrow ahead of the New Zealand ski season, tipped to be a major driver of travel for Australians over winter, and Tourism NZ will work closely with industry to help it attract Australian visitors.
The $4.5m has been spent on content creation and media placement, as well as trade activity and toolkits and branding assets for the industry. It will be shared on social media, TV, cinema and radio.
Tourism NZ-commissioned research shows 89 per cent of New Zealanders believe that re-starting tourism when it is safe to do so is important for the wellbeing of New Zealanders.
Before Covid-19, Australians made up almost 40 per cent of international arrivals to New Zealand and contributed around 24 per cent, or $2.7b, of New Zealand's annual international visitor spending.
Tourism NZ has created scenario modelling that indicates Australian visitor numbers won't return to pre-pandemic levels for some time, but could reach 80 per cent by January next year.