The trouble with running a tourism industry that offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience is that, well, people tend to do it just the once.

So how does New Zealand get repeat visitors, especially when we're so far away from so many of our best markets? Your average well-travelled Brit might get to New Zealand once in their lifetime, but they'll pop into France - and in the course of a lifetime spend a lot more of their pounds in France - every other year.

At the moment, our international brand is built around a couple of big-ticket concepts: The 100% Pure experience and The Hobbit. I'm dubious about the Hobbit thing, but for more than a decade the 100% brand has been terrific for us. However, having developed a strong brand, we must do something interesting with it.

Let's move from being a one-hit attraction by promoting our events. Instead of inviting the world to do a bungy jump at AJ Hackett's stunning Kawarau Bridge site - the birthplace of commercial bungy - let's invite them to an annual extreme sports festival in Queenstown.


The Aussies do it well. They have moved on from simply pointing at Uluru or the Opera House and expecting the tickets to be clipped. Today, their regions compete fiercely for visitors' attention with local events at the forefront of their marketing campaigns. Let's do the same.