South Island tourism targets Australians
Australian tourists are the target of a $3 million marketing campaign.
Australians, more than any other nationality, stopped travelling to Christchurch and other South Island destinations after the 2011 earthquakes.
Tourism New Zealand, the government's tourism marketing body, was criticised for not contributing special funds to Christchurch as it struggled to recover from a fall in visitor numbers.
Some South Island regions have complained of a significant fall in tourist numbers as a result of the damage in Christchurch.
Tourism New Zealand and Christchurch Airport have now agreed to partner 13 regional tourism organisations in the South Island to invest $3m over three years to remind Australians that the South Island has a lot to offer, particularly for those intent on a road trip.
Christchurch Airport chief executive Malcolm Johns said that in addition to the direct spending there would be a range of media and travel agent activity that would see the value delivered by the campaign reach as much as $6m.
Christchurch Airport would work with Tourism New Zealand to increase visitor numbers to all regions of the South Island.
"With increased capacity into Christchurch from Australia this summer, we're confident this campaign will remind Australians of why the South Island is such a great place," he said.
"Australians are our largest visitor market and attracting more of them back to the South Island is critical to the recovery and growth plans of not just the airport, but the city, the South Island and the country."
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said marketing of the South Island as a self-drive destination had been successful.
"We know from past campaigns that the self-drive offer encourages travellers to explore further afield while they are here, increasing length of stay and the number of regions visited, both key goals of all our activity in Australia," he said.
"We have seen great success from our wider campaign activity in the South Island over the past few years and look forward to working with Christchurch Airport and tourism partners to tell a fresh and compelling story to bring more Australians to South Island roads over the next three years."
Tourism West Coast chief executive Jim Little said the West Coast was keen to welcome more Australians.
"Australian visitors are an important market for the West Coast," he said.
"They travel at different times of the year and provide regular guest nights for West Coast accommodation."