New Zealand’s Environmental Tourism Marketing

Milford Sound Environmental Tourism Marketing in NZNew Zealand is already well known, worldwide, for the quality of its natural tourist sites. Milford Sound, Mt Cook, Lake Taupo, Nelson, Kaikoura, Fiordland, the Coromandel…the list is endless and much celebrated. Natural New Zealand is so well thought of internationally that some 10% of all international visitors to New Zealand cite natural sightseeing as their main priority for travel. A further 10% cite walking and hiking as the main reason. Diverting that interest and adoration to active participation is where the art of clever tourism marketing comes in.

Simply put, there is already an interest in environmental attractions in New Zealand. Marketing tourism in this case is more a matter of allowing potential visitors to find the information they are looking for. Whilst many are interested in walking and trekking in what a flurry of word of mouth advertising has already pitched as some of the most breath-taking landscapes in the world, there are few that can name the area they intend to explore. Local environmental attractions must take advantage of the national and international campaigns that have already captured travellers’ imaginations. Inbound traffic to national campaign sites must piggyback off national tourism marketing, ensuring that high quality traffic is directed to local operators. Why try to generate new interest, when targeted tourism marketing can capture current interest?

Tourism Marketing – Creating Real Benefit?

Environmental tourism has huge benefits when it comes to conserving and preserving the tourist experience. Environmental tourists tend to be far more conscientious travellers than many, with an inherent interest in conservation and natural beauty. As a result, protecting environmentally sensitive landscapes is entirely possible given sensible tourism marketing. In many more delicate eco-systems, tourists will pay a premium to be ‘allowed’ to help. The experience in Sri Lanka and parts of Nepal have shown that carefully managed, the tourist industry can actually actively benefit local ecosystems. In these cases, tourists pay to be involved in eco-tourism. Whilst this may be a step too far for many natural sites, the case studies show the potential for reducing harm.

When it comes to marketing natural tourism, it is vital to target your marketing. Whether you are aiming for the family, couple’s retreat or ‘out and about’ market, ensure that your tourism marketing is focussed on just that. Catch all marketing tends to catch little. This approach to tourism marketing has had great results elsewhere. The Lake District in England has had an ongoing campaign to promote not only the spectacular walking but also fine food and wine. This has opened up the Lake District to not just the out and about crowd, but also the older generation that love great scenery but cannot gain as much access as once before. The same idea can be seen in Lake Como, Italy, which has marketed tourism to romantics, young couples and honeymooners, to great effect.

Alongside this, there is usually potential to increase tourist spend. New Zealand attracts ‘mobile’ tourists – visitors that are not tied to one part of the country. They usually have their own transport, allowing them to access the scenery that they have heard so much about. By ensuring that these visitors do not just arrive, look around and head on, a far larger slice of the tourist dollar can be captured. Whether this is providing sunset tours and accommodation, fine dining or family activities, the provision of facilities can enhance the amount of time, and money, spent in one area.

The key to marketing environmental attractions in New Zealand is a clear strategy. The strategy must include a target audience and a desired effect. Once these have been decided, marketing can start to achieve these goals.

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