To keep New Zealand fresh and top of mind at a time when international travel is not possible, Tourism New Zealand has launched a series of feel-good videos sending out messages of friendship to the world – including a special ‘live’ tour for participant attending its webinar last week.
In a recent webinar session largely attended by trade members in Singapore and the region, New Zealand High Commissioner to Singapore Jo Tyndall spoke warmly of strong ties between the two countries, specifically highlighting that the 55 years of diplomatic relations from initial strong defence ties have “over time grown to encompass trade, innovation, education…and strong people links”.
“Although Covid-19 has forced us all to hunker down this year, I know we still have each other in our hearts, our warm welcoming people, our majestic natural beauty, fantastic food and wine, said Tyndall. "We’ll stay in touch virtually in the meantime, and we’ll bring bits of New Zealand here…until the time we can meet again in person.”
Messages from New Zealand is the outcome of the country's desire to keep in touch with travellers worldwide, distilled in the form of a series of video messages featuring kiwis from all walks of life to share a message of hope and care to the international whãnau (family).
Included in the videos is the story of Singaporean husband and wife team, Lester Lee and Charmaine Ong, who paused their lives in 2019 and spent their six-month honeymoon exploring many 'firsts' in New Zealand on a campervan – from sky diving and multi-day hike to swimming with dolphins and kiwi spotting in the wild.
During the Zoom call, the organisers also offered a surprise tour of New Zealand by asking participants to pick a spot they would like to see ‘live’ through a poll. Thereafter, Eraia Kiel, general manager of New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, re-appeared on screen to show the bubbling gases sprouting from Pohutu Geyser, in Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, Rotorua.
Although the new campaign is ostensibly targeted at consumers, Gregg Wafelbakker, general manager Asia at Tourism New Zealand says there is also a portion tailored for the tourism sector, as well as products and educational material shared with the travel trade “to help them to stay informed and aware of what New Zealand has to offer, so they are ready to go when borders reopen again".
As a destination blessed with abundant natural resources and landscapes, he added that wellness will be one of key allures that will be reinforced to travellers when travel resumes.
Wafelbakker added: “New Zealand has open spaces. There’s wellness in nature, wellness in the genuineness of our people and there’s something special whether it’s hiking one of our great walks, or time alongside our lakes – there’s a healing property that comes."
With the webinar circling around the two countries’ strong diplomatic ties, could there be a greater significance underlying this announcement? While that was not immediately clear, one thing’s for sure – the Singapore market continues to be an important one.
“[Even as] New Zealand’s borders remain closed, we want to take this opportunity to reconnect with Singapore and other key markets worldwide while we wait to welcome the international family once travel resumes,” said Wafelbakker.