[photopress:air_new_zealand_1_2.jpg,full,alignright]Air New Zealand is worried about New Zealand’s low profile in Beijing, less than two months before it’s inaugural flight to the Chinese capital.
Darline Liu, vacation manager of China’s first online travel agency, Ctrip, said more effort and funding needed to be put into marketing New Zealand in China.
She said, ‘I cannot hear any noise about New Zealand in Beijing.’
Air New Zealand’s international group general manager, Ed Sims, said the comments highlighted fundamental problems. ‘That concerns me hugely.’
Air New Zealand had spent more than $10 million in the Chinese market to promote New Zealand and this simply does not seem to have worked.
Daline Liu said the New Zealand Government’s decision to boost Tourism New Zealand’s Chinese marketing budget by $7 million over two years was not enough.
Too many Chinese did not know about New Zealand as a destination.
She said, ‘Because Chinese people don’t know much about New Zealand, New Zealand should pay much more money to promote the country.’
[photopress:air_new_zealand2.jpg,full,alignleft]Education for travel agents was a key link in attracting more Chinese tourists. She said, ‘They don’t know about New Zealand, so they cannot tell people about New Zealand.’
In the past 10 years China has accelerated into the top five markets for New Zealand, and Air New Zealand has expanded capacity from three flights a week to five since starting its Shanghai service.
Ed Sims said flying celebrities out to New Zealand so they would blog about the experience and performing traffic-stopping stunts in Shanghai were more effective uses of cash than traditional advertising.
[photopress:air_new_zealand3.jpg,full,alignright]He said, ‘You have to think who you want to reach and how are you going to reach them.’ As this New Zealand rugby player is demonstrating here.
Personally I think they should hammer away at the scenic attractions and skiing. The writer has written a book on New Zealand and visited every town. He learned to ski near Queenstown. He considers it all magic.