March 25, 2009
Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) expects to increase its
significant investment and support in more Australian tourism
business development for Marlborough.
Already, free of charge, PWT promotes Marlborough within Wellington's
activities in Australia.
The $5 million increased allocations announced in early March
by the government and Air New Zealand makes possible more
promotion by regional tourism organisations (RTO) to Australians.
Cooperation and competition between Marlborough and Wellington
tourism interests has waxed and waned over the years.
PWT, an RTO, already works with Marlborough representatives
in the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, a tourism product linking
interests from Hawkes Bay to Marlborough, and whose market
The cycle of discussions about this stepped up cooperation
between regional tourism organisations and wine product offerings
in central New Zealand also gives opportunity to raise other
agenda items says PWT CEO David Perks. Mr Perks, previously
Copthorne Hotel manager in the Bay of Islands, started as
CEO of PWT late last year.
Tracey Johnston, marketing manager of the Classic New Zealand
Wine Trail and a board member of Destination Marlborough,
is involved in those discussions. There are other people with
strong current Wellington and Marlborough tourism industry
links also interested in a new chapter in what can be done
between central New Zealand tourism interests.
The increasingly apparent need to campaign for visitors from
Wellington to Marlborough, and now the boost to marketing
for Australian urban visitors to and through Wellington, gives
fresh opportunities for the centre of New Zealand.
Mr Perks says he needs to know more about the detail to flow
from the government and Air New Zealand announcements before
answering questions about how Marlborough can expand its slice
of the action.
Marlborough’s opportunities can be enhanced by the daily
flights by three airlines from three Australian airports to
Wellington international airport. Mr Perks envisages some
Australians who come to New Zealand for more than a couple
of days – which might be spent in Wellington –
might plan on visits to Marlborough to and fro on the Interislander.
He sees Marlborough’s wine and food, Sounds’ wilderness
and resorts, and Maori cultural attractions as being amongst
appealing add ons for Australians who come to Wellington.
The Wellington i-Sites are a point in the tourism distribution
chain where Destination Marlborough and tourism product providers
can freely provide planned briefings for management and staff,
and pay for the display of product brochures to attract visitors
who may browse and book through such information centres.
PWT also has a marketing manager, Sarah Peacock, focused on
Australia, who looks outside as well as inside Wellington
for attractions for her target market. She recently brought
Australian media to Wine Marlborough – and as there
will be more media brought to NZ from Australia, Marlborough
should be able to organise more exposure. Yahoo7!'s Travel
Editor Lisa Wolff is visiting Marlborough next weekend, courtesy
of PWT, one of few RTOs funding its own additional hosting
programme for Australian media. On top of this PWT promotes
Marlborough within its joint venture campaigns with trade
wholesalers such as Blue Holidays. Joint venture campaigns
are jointly funded by PWT, Wellington International Airport
and the wholesale company, and at times Wellington tourism
PWT also employs a PR agency to promote Wellington and its
neighbouring regions. Marlborough also benefits significantly
from this programme as PWT pushes their events and key messages
to PWT media contacts as reasons to travel.
Marlborough does not contribute funds to any of the above
activities, PWT says. Interislander does invest significantly
in PWT’s Australian marketing programme.
Wellington sees the 'bigger picture'- promoting their “combined
offer is beneficial for all”. PWT appreciates resources
in Marlborough are tight, but it considers it does go well
beyond its Wellington mandate to support its neighbours.
Mr Perks says whilst Destination Marlborough and PWT can cooperate
to attract more Australian visitors, regional tourism organisations
are more competitive in the domestic market. He says the Wellington
i-Site is probably not the normal place Wellingtonians who
might be attracted to Marlborough would go for brochures and
bookings – they might be better attracted through mail
drops in affluent suburbs, through community and main Wellington
The PWT CEO, like other New Zealand tourism industry analysts
speaking out recently in favour of more domestic tourism promotion,
is also conscious that local authority funded regional tourism
organisations are not flush with funds for promotion.
Tourism minister John Key says forecasts show the extra Australian
promotion could net 34,000 extra tourists nationwide, spending
more than $60m in NZ during the low season.
Statistics New Zealand figures last week showed total arrivals
for February were down 8.5 per cent compared with the same
month last year, with all of New Zealand’s key markets
declining, except Australia.