Midweek Interview

Midweek Interview with Tourism New Zealand’s Andrew Waddel

This week we got up close and personal with the general manager of Tourism New Zealand, Andrew Waddel, until he requested we sit further away.

THE CHALLENGE FOR THE INDUSTRY IS…

Encouraging consumers to travel/experience/live now, rather than put it off until later. Travel has the unique ability to change and enrich people’s lives, however, travel and holidays are so often deprioritised and lost in the noise and clutter of day-to-day life.

As an industry, the biggest challenge is to ensure the tourism sector remains sustainable. Our focus is lasered in on easing the visitor concentration in summer by promoting travel in spring and autumn and encouraging visitors to explore our less visited regions. A major campaign is currently underway to attract more Australians to Wellington and Marlborough in spring

On the whole, we need to ask how can we encourage Australians to travel more, and more often, to create unforgettable experiences that better their lives…. while respecting their budget! If we can deliver this every time, consumers will come running back for more.

THE THINGS I LIKE ABOUT MY JOB…

Working with a great team of people at Tourism New Zealand, undertaking exciting projects with partners, working on a great campaign (100 per cent Pure New Zealand) that shapes a great brand that is a country (New Zealand!). Everything is, well, great.

AND THE FRUSTRATIONS ARE…

Finding words to replace the word great.

IF I DIDN’T WORK IN TRAVEL I WOULD BE…

Working with an innovative Kiwi/Australian startup taking on the world.

FAVOURITE AIRLINE?

Any airline taking me on holiday!

I don’t have a favourite, I just appreciate the effort when an airline goes the extra mile to ensure my travel experience is seamless and sensitive to my needs. And gets me where I am going on time.

MY PROUDEST MOMENT WAS…

As a proud Kiwi and family man telling my wife and kids I was going to work for the people of Aotearoa (New Zealand), showcasing the best the country has to offer and helping the economy by creating jobs for fellow Kiwis.

THE NAUGHTIEST THING I EVER DID WAS…

No comment. That would just get me in trouble.

I TRY TO RELAX BY…

Being present. It might sound counterintuitive, however, if I’m present in the moment and can avoid thinking about the challenge of the past or the future, it is the shortest route to a relaxed and happy state of mind.

Keeping fit in body and mind through yoga and getting outdoors as often as possible also helps me reflect and manage the twists and turns of life.

THE LAST TIME I FEARED FOR MY LIFE WAS…

Surfing.

The closest I think I have ever come to harm was surfing many years ago when I was held under the water for what felt like eternity… which is never the case – you always pop up eventually. What I learnt was to get straight back to it. I am an average surfer at best, however, I find it a great (sorry) way of pushing beyond my comfort zone.

IF I CAN, I ALWAYS TRY TO AVOID…

Restaurants with pictures of food on their menu. It spoils the surprise.

I REALLY WISH I HAD…

A witty answer to this question.

THE BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED WAS…

Leave the brand and people you work with in a better place than when you started. Simple, but so many people mess it up.

I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE…

Spend so much money on buying new things rather than experiences that create timeless memories.

MY GREATEST WEAKNESS IS…

Chocolate. And buying things for my mountain bike. And having more than one weakness.

AND MY GREATEST STRENGTH IS…

Rather than strengths I like to think about everyday human superpowers, everyone has them if they think about it.

For me, I book the best holidays to a budget. I can cut through a crowd like a hot knife through butter. I can always find a great carpark. I can sense trouble brewing. All of which are important powers when travelling!

IF I WON A $1 MILLION LOTTERY (ASIDE FROM TRAVELLING), I WOULD…

Bank it. Simple and boring but it’s what I would tell my kids if they asked me.

I’d invest it smartly so it’d grow to be more than $1m in the future.

IF I WAS PRIME MINISTER I WOULD…

Give everyone a day off on their birthday. That would help my approval ratings and give me aircover to tackle more important topics like climate change, immigration policy and indigenous rights.

IF I COULD BE SOMEONE ELSE FOR ONE DAY I WOULD BE…

My younger self. I would tell my older self that every life experience will inform my journey and not to worry, it will all make sense eventually.

And I would tell myself to travel more.

I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO TRAVEL TO…

New Zealand.

More specifically I’ve always wanted to ride my mountain bike from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island. This is made possible by the Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail, something I would like to do in the future.

MY FAVOURITE HOLIDAY WAS…

Just too many to choose from. Every holiday is different and better than the last. That is why I keep going back for more!

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