Aim to lure Australians to Fiordland

In the report, the Environment Commissioner said it was widely understood that the daily limit at...
Fiordland's Milford Sound. Photo: ODT files
Great South is hoping to attract Australians down south, including using a partnership with Destination Queenstown to get travellers to Fiordland during the ski season.

With the announcement on Tuesday that the quarantine-free transtasman travel bubble was set to start from April 19, Great South was working on strategies to target the Australian market, Great South tourism and events general manager Bobbi Brown said.

She was pleased with the news, as the domestic market was "not enough" to replace the international one.

Pre-Covid, three-quarters of all visitors to Fiordland were international and of those almost a quarter were from Australia.

One-third of all visitors to Southland - excluding Fiordland - were from overseas and Australians comprised 29% of them.

"Australia is by far the largest international market for Southland and Fiordland."

The agency would focus on four key points in a bid to attract Australians down south.

The first would be the continued partnership and collaboration with Tourism New Zealand, airports and other regions to explore all possibilities.

"I think this is very important to note, as everybody will be targeting the Australian market and I think the more we work together to do that, the better the outcome for everybody."

A partnership with Destination Queenstown during the ski season was also planned, increased direct flights to the resort set to create a "great opportunity" for Fiordland and Te Anau tourism in particular, she said.

Great South would keep promoting Fiordland as an attractive place to host conferences and other events, she said.

"We got some really pleasing confirmation of events in September and October - in Invercargill, in particular - but we want really to build on that because events usually fill our accommodation."

There would also be a push for Australians to include Southland in their travel plans.

The key reason for people who wanted to travel to New Zealand immediately would be to visit family, she said.

"We want to look at how we can leverage that and find ways to encourage people who have Aussie family and friends to visit Southland."

In the next fortnight Great South would be launching two major campaigns - one a partnership with Air New Zealand to promote the direct flight from Auckland to Invercargill and another to encourage domestic visitors.

While other regions had already been engaged in marketing, Great South had chosen to wait because it believed some of Southland’s areas were performing well.

That was the case for Stewart Island, which had its best summer in years, she said.

She acknowledged that Fiordland was a different case, as it had been hit hard by the lack of international tourists.

Great South had worked with Destination Fiordland to support its businesses and promote the destination, she said.

Great South took over the management of Visit Fiordland from Destination Fiordland on April 1, which would be beneficial for the struggling area.

"With Fiordland coming to our family, we can manage a campaign which covers the whole region."

Southland Mayor Gary Tong said Fiordland businesses desperately needed visitors.

"My hope is those coming from Australia will venture to Fiordland."

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