Tourism New Zealand is starting to explore the “next generation” of its 100% Pure campaign with the organisation set to move away from its focus on landscapes.
The agency’s chief executive, Kevin Bowler, acknowledged it was important to widen the existing marketing message which he said had a tendency to be a “bit Tasmanian”.
But he insisted New Zealand still had at least 10 years of exploiting its association with Middle Earth, the fictional land featured in the Hobbit trilogy.
While landscapes will always be a selling point, Bowler said New Zealand’s people and culture are likely to play a more prominent role in future campaigns.
“It is important that our messaging needs to be a bit broader than Middle Earth as we move forward and we are working on our next generation of 100% Pure New Zealand and what that will look like,” he told Travel Today. “At the moment the thinking is to bring more people and experiences and culture into the story, so not rely quite so exclusively on landscape.
“By bringing more people and culture into the story we can create an opportunity to produce a more distinctive NZ message. Some of our work can look a bit Tasmanian, which I mean as a compliment to Tasmania.”
He rejected suggestions that this year’s third and final installment of the Hobbit movies spelt the beginning of the end of its Middle Earth marketing, predicting that Tourism NZ had a “decade plus of value” to squeeze from its association with the films.
“The flame will go down but it will still be there for a long time to come and we have assets such as Hobbiton that will keep it alive,” he said. “We have operators who are still doing really well out of Lord of the Rings tours, 12 years after the films were released.”
In the December quarter, one in five visitors from Germany and the US named Middle Earth as a reason for visiting NZ, he added.
"The Hobbit is the third largest film franchise of all time and could become the largest when the third film is released," Bowler said. "There is a real market for these films and that will continue."