Selling the Mighty Waikato to the world

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Following a successful peak tourism summer season, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism and our operators are now in the thick of the “trade season” – when we actively market the Mighty Waikato to
the world.

Trade season” refers to the time of year when we market and sell our region, products, services and new visitor experiences to the travel trade – wholesalers, inbound tour operators, travel agents and online retailers. The travel trade plays a significant role in attracting international visitors to New Zealand and the Waikato region by encouraging travellers to spend more time exploring what we have to offer.

While independent travellers are increasingly organising and planning their own trips directly online, the travel trade remains important in reaching larger numbers of potential international visitors, particularly in our long-haul markets such as Europe, United States, Canada, China, Japan and South America, plus our number one visitor market, Australia. By establishing relationships with key operators and agencies, and engaging a mix of distribution partners, we help our region and tourism operators tap in to an effective channel to market and reach target consumers.

We are about to take a number of our region’s new and existing tour operators to two key events – the eXplore trade show in Auckland and TRENZ (Tourism Rendezvous New Zealand) in Rotorua.

eXplore
The eXplore show is a key trade event for NZ-based inbound tour operators, wholesalers and travel agents where more than 100 tourism products from across the Central North Island are showcased.

The Mighty Waikato region are taking our largest contingent ever to the show, with 25 operators exhibiting including Hobbiton Movie Set, Discover Waitomo, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, Waitomo Adventures, Kelly Road, Lakeview Lodge, Otorohanga Kiwi House, Lake District Adventures, Hamilton Gardens, Novotel Tainui Hamilton, Helicorp, Roselands Waitomo, Castaways Resort, Thundercross Valley, The Red Barn, Days Hotel & Suites by Wyndham, Destination Cambridge, Franklin Tourism Group, Glowing Adventures, Go Skydive NZ, Cornerstone Alpaca, Cave World, Waikato Museum, NZ Pure Tour and Hidden Lake Hotel.

New products to be launched to trade include a new walking tour from Waikato Museum, a new Taste of Waikato group dining experience at The Red Barn at Hinuera, new accommodation at Hidden Lake Hotel in Cambridge, plus many more.

This show is a key activity of Explore Central North Island (ECNI) which is a marketing collective of eight regions including The Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti-Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Ruapehu, Great Lake Taupo, Rotorua, and Hamilton & Waikato. We work together to actively promote our regions and experiences to international tourism trade – a strong force which positions the best of the North Island.

TRENZ
TRENZ is New Zealand’s largest tourism showcase and international travel expo, and the Mighty Waikato region will stand out at this year’s event for many reasons.

Over three days, the expo will attract 387 buyers from 27 markets, which range from traditional visitor markets like Australia, the US, UK and Japan to newer, emerging visitor markets, such as Brazil and the Philippines. More than 16,500 15-minute meetings will be held with tourism operators and regional tourism agencies, including our organisation alongside nine Waikato operators.

We will be launching our new “Mighty Waikato” visitor brand on our purpose-built regional stand. Trade-ready operators in attendance will be Hobbiton Movie Set, Discover Waitomo, Waitomo Adventures, Roselands Waitomo, Rural Tours, Hamilton Gardens, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, Red Barn and Hidden Lake Hotel & Apartments.

Feedback from the travel trade continues to be positive about the Mighty Waikato as they are excited about the new products and visitor experiences emerging across our region. Our region provides a refreshing change, as they seek out more authentic and “real New Zealand” experiences. Our region is well positioned to take advantage of this growing popularity as a must-visit destination on traveller itineraries as we work hard to capture more of the tourism dollar.

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism is the regional tourism organisation charged with increasing international and domestic visitor numbers, expenditure and stay. The organisation is funded through a public/private partnership and covers the heartland Waikato areas of Hamilton City, Matamata-Piako, Otorohanga, Waipa, South Waikato and Waitomo Districts. Find out more: www.waikatonz.com

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About Author

Jason Dawson

Chief Executive, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism