Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan is the face of a new campaign to attract United States cycle tourists to New Zealand.
Keoghan, a keen cyclist has been hired by Tourism New Zealand to front digital and print campaigns in the US.
A Kiwi, Keoghan has just completed a 5400-km ride to retrace the route of the first English-speaking team (including one Kiwi rider) in the Tour de France, soon to be released as a feature-length documentary.
The campaign was shot in December on Canterbury's Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail and the Queenstown Trail, and will showcase the country as the ideal destination for a cycling holiday.
Tourism New Zealand's director of marketing, Andrew Fraser said that securing Keoghan as the face of the campaign, which launched in the United States today, was a real coup.
"Phil doesn't just have a large following in the States as host of The Amazing Race - he is also a passionate cyclist and proud Kiwi, and therefore the ideal person to be encouraging Americans to make New Zealand their next holiday destination."
Research showed that a large section of the US market actively considering a cycling trip to New Zealand, Fraser said.
The cycle trail network spans the length of New Zealand and the cycle tourists often stayed late into March, aligning with the push to increase shoulder season travel and a wider regional spread of visitors, said Fraser.
Keoghan said he was "thrilled"to work with Tourism New Zealand.
"You don't need to be an experienced athlete to take advantage of cycling in New Zealand, there's a range of cycle trails that cater to all fitness levels, with each of them taking in stunning scenery."
The Amazing Race has been running in the US since 2001 and screens in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the US alone, it garnered 9.5 million viewers during its 2013-14 season. Keoghan has been the host and a producer of the US version of the show since its inception.
The campaign reflected Tourism New Zealand's wider strategy to actively target the international cycling sector as part of its focus on special interest activities, -- such as food and wine and golf -- which have the potential to deliver increased value.
"There has been significant growth in US visitor numbers in recent years, thanks in part to the work undertaken to leverage off the incredible popularity of the Hobbit films. Now the Trilogy has come to an end, the move towards promotion of cycling and other special interest sectors there reflects Tourism New Zealand's shift in focus to capitalise on the attention the films have created for the US visitor market," Fraser said.