http://www.dotwnews.com/ Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) has tweaked its marketing mix to reflect the increasing reality of economic factors hitting tourism markets.
TNZ chief executive George Hickton said yesterday it had all but pulled out of Japan and Korea, preferring to focus marketing resources in countries that were not mired in economic doldrums.
TNZ saw little growth in countries such as Japan and Korea and had moved resources to more promising prospects, he said. Maintaining a downward trend, Japan's visitors numbers to New Zealand dropped 11 per cent in the year to April, while Korean visitors fell 20%.
"When we look at it, we still expect numbers to continue but there are no growth prospects."
Hickton said TNZ had divided the world into three categories, and was redeploying marketing dollars where it could get the best results. "The UK and USA are in the middle, and then there are markets where we see a great amount of potential, clearly China, Canada and Australia," he said.
Speaking at the 2008 Tourism Rendezvous New Zealand (Trenz) tourism showcase, the world's economic maelstrom was the topic of media questions fired at the panel of Hickton, Air New Zealand deputy chief executive and Tourism Industry Association chairman Norm Thompson and Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor.
The price of jet fuel had driven up airfares and Air New Zealand had cut its capacity on long-haul flights to London by 6%, which would save it $100 million in annual fuel costs.
"Anybody that is not worried, I'd be worried about them. We are concerned," Thompson said.
Airfares were testing consumers' mettle when it came to choosing their destinations, he said, adding that it was up to New Zealand to keep a keen edge on their marketing machine.
The targets for the industry heading into the next year were to put more effort into convincing Australians they could come to New Zealand for the weekend, urging UK travellers to come down under now instead of waiting, and focus their efforts to woo independent travellers from China.