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Auckland Airport and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Ltd (ATEED) have worked with wholesale partners in China to showcase New Zealand as a must-see tourism destination with this fast-growing travel market, using one of their own – influential Chinese film star Dong Xuan – as the drawcard.
As part of Auckland Airport’s programme to develop premium travel markets, Dong Xuan will spend ten days in New Zealand travelling from Auckland to Arrowtown with Chinese media, film and camera teams in tow. She will visit iconic locations which will be promoted in her home country to build awareness of longer stay itineraries and to highlight the depth of sophisticated options in New Zealand.
An extensive blogger and social media user, Dong has a fan base of more than 3.2 million on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Facebook. She will be providing regular updates and a unique insight into New Zealand as part of her travels.
“This is the first time Auckland Airport and ATEED have teamed up in this way to market Auckland and the depth of product for premium markets in New Zealand. In China celebrities like Miss Dong have significant influence, so the power of her recommendations to visit New Zealand can’t be underestimated,” says Glenn Wedlock, General Manager Aeronautical Commercial for Auckland Airport.
Once her tour is complete, wholesale partners will offer Chinese visitors the chance to follow in her footsteps on a “Dong Xuan experience tour”, across the country – with differing tiers of experience to cater for all price ranges. This will be marketed via the media and traditional advertising in China, as well as through social media channels.
“Our trade channels and route development will pave the way for travel wholesalers and retailers to produce bespoke, scalable tour packages to drive increased visitor numbers to New Zealand. With the Government's strong focus on tourism value and exports to grow our economy, activities like this are crucial to developing our overseas standing and it’s just another example of how committed we must be to capturing the lucrative Chinese travel market.”
ATEED Manager Tourism Jason Hill says this campaign is a creative way to leverage the Chinese celebrity culture, and is in sync with the focus of Auckland’s new ten-year Visitor Plan.
“Smart marketing is critical to help change perceptions and stimulate visitation from the important Chinese visitor market. Having someone as high profile as Dong Xuan visit Auckland and other parts of the country is a great example of this," he says.
"Her visit will help to raise awareness of Auckland’s premium tourism offering and encourage people to see Auckland as more than a gateway. It will open people’s eyes to Auckland’s mix of sophisticated urban and natural experiences and the best our city has to offer."
As part of the fastest growing film industry in the world, Dong is celebrated for her romantic dramas and TV series and her trip to New Zealand has already received extensive coverage across China on radio, in newspapers and online.
“China Southern Airlines and Air New Zealand have added more flights recently between Auckland and China which, coupled with improved Visa processing, is really helping us deliver 20 per cent plus growth from the China market. It is important we jointly, as an industry, grab the opportunity to develop New Zealand as a premium brand to that market to build an enduring value position,” says Mr Wedlock.
While she is in New Zealand Dong Xuan will experience:
· Auckland – Waiheke Island vineyard tour, sailing on the Waitemata Harbour, Viaduct Harbour, West Coast beaches
· Matamata/Waikato – Hobbiton Village
· Rotorua – Shearing and milking
· Queenstown/Arrowtown – Southern Alps visit, jet boating
· Milford Sound – Glacier cruising.