The trade mission held 17 to 22–March was developed to increase visitation from New Zealand, one of the Sunshine Coast’s strongest international market.
The group provided updates and training to over 360 retail and wholesale travel agents, product managers and other key industry and media contacts in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch. Key activities included wholesale training sessions; a hosted networking event with New Zealand media, product and marketing managers; and training events.
SCDL’s Marketing and Brand Director, Veronica Rainbird said one of the most exciting aspects of the trade mission was the level of involvement from local Sunshine Coast operators.
“It was fantastic to see local operators supporting the mission and events such as the Queensland Garden Expo successfully contracted with wholesalers as an outcome. This trade and PR activity complements our consumer campaign running concurrently in the New Zealand market and also assists to increase awareness of the direct Air New Zealand flights from Auckland to the Sunshine Coast scheduled from June to October 2013.
Veronica said while the New Zealand market was not a new target for the region, it is a market that has always shown strong visitation.
“The New Zealand market is extremely valuable to us and is one of our most important international markets. We attracted 64,000 visitors to end of December 2012 and Kiwis, traditionally stay longer each visit and spend well with local businesses while they are here. It’s therefore very important that we continue to update the New Zealand industry on what’s new, what’s improved and what’s happening across the Sunshine Coast region.”
To ensure the success of the trade mission, SCDL is conducting other marketing activities to within New Zealand, including a range of tactical campaigns with New Zealand wholesalers, a targeted public relations campaign and consumer direct promotions and competitions.
Sunshine Coast operators participating in the road show with Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd
included: Tourism Noosa, Dreamtime Resorts, Queensland Garden Expo, Glass House Mountains Eco Lodge, Sun-Air Bus Service, Kingfisher Bay Resort, Off Beat Eco Tours, Caloundra to–Kawana representative and a Culinary Tourism representative.
Peter Blashki of Off Beat Eco Tours said, “The New Zealand SCDL trade mission was fantastic. These types of events are a great way to meet and greet a well-qualified group of travel sales staff and let them know about my business and the Sunshine Coast. The cost is a fraction of what it would cost to do this myself and each event attracted the best qualified people to view my company.”