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Talking business

by Anthony Haas

 

Encourage Kiwis to visit Marlborough

March 11, 2009

A busy Wellington resident Japanese born Kiwi who took a short break with her partner in Pelorus Sound says the Sounds are an attractive place in which to chill out. She says stimulus and information for planning a long Marlborough weekend away would attract affluent Wellingtonians. She considers that weekend packages would also help appeal to other people with her background. It is not a question of ethnicity, but of matching people to special interest attractions, she says.

A Wellington taxi driver describes Blenheim as flat and boring. But then he adds, passengers are attracted by the idea of the Queen Charlotte walkway, and the wine trail. He says his company could be approached to distribute cards and other promotion about Marlborough attractions.

An Auckland professional couple made a rendezvous with Wellington and Nelson family members to walk the Queen Charlotte track – and then went by water taxi to relax in a Pelorus homestay before catching a bus in Havelock to connect with a scheduled flight home from Nelson.

Another Auckland business couple, planning a Sounds visit in the spring, ask about float plane access.

Australians ask a local taxi driver why they cannot go on tour in a seafood processing plant in Havelock.

A major Wellington transport service says it is time for Marlborough to step up its promotion – and offers support for good agreed projects.

Auckland and Wellington travel editors ask what fresh angles there are for stories about Marlborough destinations.

Some of these questions are being met by events and trails, through conference and tour packages.

Stepped up promotion can help head off recession challenges, and is consistent with wider tourism development. Partnerships to mobilize more marketing resources are desirable and possible. Increased visitor spend can help lessen the blows on local businesses and jobs.

Tourism interests now taking initiatives to create demand for Marlborough’s autumn are turning their minds to seasons further ahead. Short term initiatives could be taken to help the Marlborough region attract lower North Island visitors. Campaigns could be defined and launched swiftly – including targeting visits during off peak times.

Help potential visitors plan how to get here. Brief them on what they can do here. Offer them souvenirs that stimulate visits from people they know. Visitors could be attracted with promotions about tastes of wine, food, water, wilderness and other appealing local experiences. They can be informed about transport, accommodation and other services they will need and want.

A set of initiatives targeting the lower North Island can be focused on the transport services that cross Cook Strait. Deepen existing and create new partnerships.

More promotional material on the InterIslander would help reach over a million people who cross Cook Strait each year – and could be focused on encouraging them to stop over, instead of just passing through. More promotional materials to Wellingtonians through mail boxes and other channels – particularly those already successfully used by Marlborough marketers - would be good for locals and the transport services that cross the Strait. Users of hotels and rental cars, and schools planning for camps later in the year, could be amongst those targeted.

The case for Marlborough could be made more emphatically to known and potential travelers with the cooperation of intermediaries, such as regional tourism and development organisations, i-SITES, tourism operators, media, postal and others interested. Returns on investment can be anticipated from increased visitor spending on Marlborough goods and services.

The extra initiatives should take into account existing cooperation around events and trails and can be supported by publishing in a range of media.

The targeted tourism development would complement, and as far as they agreed, involve public and private sector interests with existing or in-development anti recessionary targeted initiative

Effective promotion, and the potential growth in Marlborough’s share of domestic tourism, is a practical way to support the goals of the Prime Minister’s Jobs Summit, help ward off the spiral of despondency and rebuild confidence.

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