Tourism board builds marketing around major events


LOS ANGELES -- New Zealand is going to be increasingly in the spotlight in the coming months, and it is pulling out all the stops to take advantage of the exposure.

Sunrise over Mount Hikurangi, New Zealand. In September, Auckland hosts the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), with 7,000 world leaders, officials and media members expected to attend.

The America's Cup Challenger Series and final races will be held in Auckland from October through March.

For the millennium, the nation is touting itself as the first that will see the sunrise of the new century, and major cities are preparing events.

The New Zealand Tourism Board has introduced new materials, with the events as a major theme. "This is a huge opportunity for us, and we are bringing it all into focus," said Gregg Anderson, NZTB's country manager for the U.S.

"We are starting to see an unprecedented demand, and we want people to have information on all these things," he said.

New NZTB materials include the following:

  • A four-page calendar, with events running through spring 2000, inserted in trade and consumer publications.
  • A six-page America's Cup brochure.
  • New annual consumer publications, including a 50-page directory/destination book and a 12-page destination book.
  • A calendar in a stand-up plastic container running through 2000, one month per page with events for the month on the back.
  • A new Web site -- -- which acts as a North American gateway to its main site.
  • Although the millennium and other events will be the focus, NZTB said it will continue to promote the country's diversity, as well. The America's Cup brochure, for example, includes wholesaler and tour operator packages featuring golf, trekking and trout fishing. In its calendars, NZTB is promoting regular annual events, ranging from festivals, the arts and food and wine to the country's Maori and Pacific Island heritage, flower shows and sports.

    Anderson said NZTB will announce a new worldwide marketing campaign coinciding with the APEC meeting. "It will mean a rebranding," he said.

    Anderson added, "Research shows that many do not know enough about us as they do in, say, Britain. They think of us a sleepy rural country, but agriculture is just part of it. With the spotlight, we have the opportunity to step away from all that to change the perception."

    Meanwhile, cities are preparing for the millennium. Gisborne, the most easterly city, will be the first to welcome the sunrise of the 21st century. Rock star David Bowie will join Split Enz to perform at a three-day millennium festival on Gisborne's waterfront. For Split Enz, one of New Zealand's most successful bands, it will be only its second performance since its members split in 1984.

    Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will sing at dawn.

    A 10-day bike race over a 20-day period will end in Gisborne at sunrise on Jan. 1. New Zealand ports will welcome the Pacific Tall Ship Festival, centered on Gisborne for the new year. Fourteen tall ships will sail from Sydney, Australia, Nov. 26 and will reach Wellington on Dec. 10, staying in New Zealand waters until February. Auckland's celebrations will include a millennium golf tournament. Hamilton will be the site of a marathon, and Nelson will host a jazz festival.

    Phone: (800) 388-5494

    JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI