20 Oct 2020

Queenstown pins hopes on ad campaign to lure holidaymakers

3:33 pm on 20 October 2020

Queenstown has wheeled out some heavy artillery in a bid to attract domestic tourists this summer as it tries to compensate for the absence of international visitors.

Journey to the South Island of New Zealand. A picturesque river in a mountain gorge. Attraction Bungee jumping on a bridge over a mountain river.

The campaign centres on adventurous activities such as bungee jumping. Photo: 123RF

A 10-week advertising campaign was launched yesterday under the branding "Home of Adventure" as Queenstown tries to lure New Zealanders away from the beaches to a more adrenaline-filled getaway.

Covid-19 has ravaged Queenstown's economy but there is optimism businesses can operate to a good level until the next important step, when a travel bubble with Australia opens.

Destination Queenstown chief executive Ann Lockhart told Morning Report that while the resort town is synonymous with outdoor adventures, it has appeal across the board.

"We've got a huge range of activities here from adrenaline - jumping off bridges, skydiving etcetera - to more sedate activities such as playing golf, wine trails, biking and so on."

Lockhart agreed that domestic visitors would not be able to fill the gap that international visitors leave, especially over the peak summer season.

"Having said that, we do have some optimism. The school holidays in July were very strong for us although that tapered off sharply when Auckland went into lockdown again or stage 3.

"But we've had a bit of an uplift with school holidays [in September] and with this campaign behind us or backing us we expect to see visitors return to us in summer."

Research released by Tourism New Zealand yesterday suggested nearly three-quarters of New Zealanders are planning a backyard holiday in the next 12 months, and more are endorsing the idea of travel in their own country.

Among people surveyed in September, 62 percent described domestic holiday options as 'excellent or good', which is a 14 percent increase from May.

People cited a desire to relax and refresh, enjoy spectacular scenery, or visit new places, which Tourism New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall said was not a surprise.

"What that suggests is that people have had a pretty hectic start to the year. Rather than driving for new experiences or once in a lifetime moments, they're saying over the summer or next year we really want to chill out for a bit."

The findings by Tourism New Zealand correlate with bumper summer bookings on Department of Conservation's Great Walks, and offer a glimmer of hope to tourism operators grappling with selling Aotearoa to itself.

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