Auckland Airport has partnered with a group of central North Island regional tourism organisations - including Destination Rotorua - in a winter campaign which generated an estimated $9 million in additional value to the economy.
The North Island Winter Touring campaign, which ran from May to September, reached more than 6.5 million potential travellers in Australia, the airport said. It promoted the range of experiences the central North Island has to offer during winter and encouraged Australian travellers to explore the geothermal and volcanic wonders of the area in winter.
Australia is New Zealand's largest international visitor market with 1.4 million visitors in the year ending July 2016.
Auckland Airport joined forces with Hamilton & Waikato Tourism, Destination Rotorua, Destination Great Lake Taupo and Visit Ruapehu as well as Australian travel agent Helloworld and Emirates Airline to undertake the campaign to boost tourism numbers from this market at a traditionally quieter time of the year for the region.
Patrick Dault, Destination Rotorua trade manager, said the campaign was a successful first foray into promoting the central North Island region as a strong option for visitors looking for their next winter getaway destination.
"We can already see that by integrating our marketing with other organisations like Auckland Airport we can achieve greater reach into target markets such as Australia resulting in considerable benefit to the local economy," said Mr Dault.
"The effectiveness of campaign work such as this is increased considerably and allows us to make our efforts go further by not going it alone."
The campaign was promoted through Helloworld and Emirates channels in Australia across TV, digital and social media. It highlighted the range of unique geothermal and volcanic experiences on offer from skiing a volcano at Ruapehu to experiencing geysers and soaking in the volcanic hot springs at Rotorua.
Mr Dault said these activities, all within easy reach of one another, are distinctive to the region and not found anywhere else in Australia or New Zealand.
"Research commissioned by Tourism New Zealand has shown that Australian visitors are highly motivated by these experiences. This partnership model took the insights from the research and enabled us to highlight that winter is a perfect time to visit and explore the North Island's unique offering," Mr Dault said.
Norris Carter, Auckland Airport's general manager - aeronautical commercial, said: "This is the first time we have collaborated with a group of North Island regional tourism organisations in winter to promote travel into their region. Partnerships like this not only help promote the unique seasonal tourism experiences available in New Zealand, but actively contribute to the year-round strength of the regional tourism economy.
"We are very excited by the results and are already thinking about how we can work together again in 2017."