Canterbury stars in Amazing Race
Canterbury's recovering international tourism industry will get a boost with the region's landscapes featured in television show The Amazing Race.
The reality show's latest episode shows off the quake-hit province to an audience of millions.
It is being broadcast across the United States in the prime-time television evening slot that equates to today New Zealand time. Contestants in the show are seen adventuring their way across the expansive Mid-Canterbury region.
Canterbury tourism bosses are impressed with the profile the show will give to the region, given that millions watch individual episodes on United States television.
The profile will benefit not only Canterbury, but also and the wider South Island, where international tourist numbers fell after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.
"We couldn't ask for better publicity for our region," Experience Mid-Canterbury Tourism general manager Nigel Birt said.
"The Amazing Race has a huge audience in the United States and many other countries and this kind of exposure is invaluable."
It is the fourth time New Zealand has featured in The Amazing Race, but the first time contestants in the show have visited Canterbury.
Phil Keoghan, the host of The Amazing Race, grew up in the province.
"I felt tremendous pride being able to share Canterbury with not only the crew but, of course, the millions of people around the world who will see what a special place we have. Places are about people and that will come through loud and clear."
Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter said he was very happy Keoghan chose to feature Canterbury prominently.
"Hopefully it will lead to more Americans putting the Canterbury region on their must-visit list," Hunter said.
Filmed in New Zealand in November 2012, Tourism New Zealand said The Amazing Race was secured through its international media programme.
"Tourism New Zealand supports relevant broadcast productions, including reality television shows such as The Amazing Race, in order to gain compelling, high-profile media coverage to motivate our target markets to travel to New Zealand," Gregg Anderson, Tourism New Zealand general manager western long-haul markets, said.
"The timing of this going to air couldn't be better, as we work to leverage the increased interest in New Zealand that we are seeing in the US as a result of the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and our 100 per cent Middle-earth, 100 per cent Pure New Zealand campaign work," Anderson said.
The race competitors take part in jet boating on the Rakaia River, quadbiking through high country streams, and piloting rally cars around a high country station.