New Caledonia Tourism has wrapped up a successful round of roadshows that drew 240 agents and industry partners in Sydney, Brisbane Melbourne and Auckland.
The events were given a boost by the tourism body’s introduction of Virtual Reality technology, which allowed agents to explore The Loyalty Islands, Isle of Pines and cosmopolitan Noumea without so much as dusting off the passport.
The roadshows come as New Caledonia Tourism sets its sights on increased visitation to the French special collectivity, which sits 1200km from Australia’s east coast. Speaking to assorted media at Sydney’s Botanic Gardens Restaurant yesterday, New Caledonia Tourism marketing director Jean-Michel Foutrein said that Australia remains a key market for the destination.
“Three years ago we had 15,000 Australian visitors and that figure has grown to 21,000 today. Our goal for 2016/2017 is to lift this to 24,000,” Foutrein said. “We are not mass tourism, however our 10 year target is to have 60,000 Australian visitors, a significant figure for New Caledonia Tourism,” he added.
Another important announcement, due in August according to Foutrein, will centre on a New Caledonia-wide tourism development plan that will outline a strategy for the next decade.
Foutrein stressed the vital importance of growing tourism in New Caledonia, noting that 50% of the population are 30 or under and relied on work in the tourism and hospitality industries. “The best way to develop the islands will be through tourism,” Foutrein said.
New Caledonia Tourism’s account director for Australia and NZ, Caroline Brunel, also discussed the recent launch of a new brand campaign for the destination. “New virtual reality product will be rolled out to consumers in the next week, allowing people to immerse themselves in New Caledonia and to get a feel for what the destination is all about,” Brunel said.
Virtually reality vignettes that Travel Weekly experienced included exploration of Noumea, Bourail, Kanak villages, skydiving, cycling and the Loyalty Islands.