Beyond Belief – Fiordland targets domestic visitors with call to experience their own backyard

Beyond Belief – Fiordland targets domestic visitors with call to experience their own backyard

While tourism businesses scramble to adapt to the domestic market in the wake of Covid-19, Fiordland’s regional tourism organisation could argue its one step ahead of them all.

Destination Fiordland has always been justifiably proud of its operators and attractions in the lakeside townships of Te Anau and Manapouri, and the raw majesty of Fiordland National Park’s glacier-carved fiords and rugged mountains.

But with many visitors starting and finishing their Fiordland adventures in Queenstown, making a quick pit-stop in Te Anau, the tourism organisation embarked on a brand refresh in October last year.

The goal? To shout loud and clear from those mountaintops that Fiordland exemplifies all that’s good about New Zealand and is a destination in its own right, where locals value their visitors and ‘walk the talk’ about maintaining the world-class natural environment for generations to come.

The new brand ‘Fiordland – Beyond Belief’ was revealed to operators this week, setting out to target domestic travelers from day one and positioning Te Anau as ‘base camp’, while opening the eyes of international visitors to the fact there’s so much more to Fiordland than Milford Sound.

“The launch of our new brand comes at a challenging time, where fortune favours the bold,” says Destination Fiordland manager Madeleine Peacock. “Our challenge was to find a positioning that reflects all this majesty and helps drive visitation by making Fiordland a unique, inspiring, authentic and unmissable part of Aotearoa New Zealand, a place worth visiting.

“Fiordland is a must-see for international visitors but even last year we could see the untapped potential of domestic visitors. We clearly have a job to do at home, and this is a great start.”

Ms Peacock says ‘Fiordland – Beyond Belief’ conveys the scale, grandeur and mind-blowing nature of the area, and applies to everything on offer from the people who call Fiordland ‘home’  to the quality of experiences, accommodation and food, and a deep sense of connection with the environment .

“Our research has identified Kiwis desire to connect with nature, looking for real world experiences in their backyard, connecting with natural environments and ensuring those environments will be protected for generations to come – it’s about who we are as Kiwis.

“Doubtful and Dusky Sounds, the Great Walks and Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri have to an extent been hiding in the shadow of Milford Sound, however these areas are equally as impressive.”

Kerri James, owner operator of award-winning five-star accommodation provider Radfords On The Lake, says she’s “absolutely delighted” with the new brand.

“People down this way epitomise Southern hospitality, and ‘beyond belief’ is the perfect fit to describe Fiordland and everything we have to offer,” she says.

Fiordland Outdoors owner operator Christine Wallace says the brand is in “perfect synergy” with the high-value experience that Fiordland offers.

“The brand communicates a premium location and offering that’s very much in sync with what we do here. It’s very timely when all regions around New Zealand are being considered by domestic travelers,” she says.

Jodi Williams, Air New Zealand’s General Manager Global Brand and Content Marketing, says Air New Zealand has a special connection with Fiordland through its work with DOC to bring back birdsong on the Great Walks, three of which are located in Fiordland.

“Fiordland Beyond Belief helps position Fiordland as a world-class destination, famous for its majestic scenery, and has inspired me to visit this unique and special part of New Zealand,” she says.

Operators are currently being encouraged to incorporate the ‘Beyond Belief’ brand and associated imagery into their marketing and a new website is expected to launch within the next two months.

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Adventure Tourism Operator, Experience Co., Inks Cross-Tasman Deal with IBIS Technology

In a signal of confidence in the post COVID-19 recovery of the tourism sector, Experience Co. Ltd (ASX:Exp) announced today it has selected Queenstown-based IBIS Technology as its tourism business systems software provider for the company’s skydiving operations in both New Zealand and Australia.

The new relationship marks IBIS Technology’s first major reservations, operations and e-commerce software customer overseas.

Experience Co. is New Zealand and Australia’s leading Skydive operator with three skydiving businesses in NZ’s Southern Lakes region, including the world renowned NZONE Skydive, Skydive Southern Alps and Skydive Wanaka.

The company also offers tandem skydiving in 13 locations in Australia and several marine based operations in Far North Queensland.

John O’Sullivan, CEO of publicly-traded Experience Co seeks to ensure the company emerges from COVID-19 stronger than ever.

“Now is the time to reconsider how we are operating our businesses to both streamline operations and improve the holistic experience of the customer with our brands,” he said.

“After a thorough review of tourism business operations systems available in our markets, we chose IBIS because of its integrated ‘whole business’ functionality and 22 years of committed customer support. The IBIS team has deep knowledge of the skydiving and tourism industry and they’re very passionate about that. I look forward to working together as partners with IBIS to help us rebuild New Zealand and Australian adventure tourism in a way that strengthens both our business and the customer experience.”

Founder and CTO of IBIS Erik Bradshaw commented, “We’re excited about the opportunity to work with the brilliant team at Experience Co., both here in NZ and as one of Australia’s largest tourism businesses.”

Bradshaw continued, “IT systems are a mission-critical part of our customers’ success. Recognising this, IBIS has taken a financially conservative approach to managing our own business so that we can be a solid partner to Experience Co. and other customers in these challenging times.

Coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, our goal is to provide tourism and leisure operators the flexibility and tools to respond nimbly to changes in market conditions, from unexpected downturns to re-thinking pricing, scheduling, product offerings and partners.”

Experience Co. will implement IBIS systems this winter, giving staff time to ‘settle in’ before the tourism visitor numbers begin to climb to their new normal.

IBIS Technology has been designing tourism business management solutions for the New Zealand tourism industry since 1998.

Fully NZ-owned and operated, the company has grown from its early start in reservations software to offering an integrated platform for online and direct reservations, admissions, point-of-sale, e-commerce, accounts management and reporting for tourism and leisure businesses large and small.

As the leading tourism business management software company in New Zealand, IBIS focuses on partnering with its clients to ensure that its software and services add value, improving both business and customer experience results.

Experience Co. is an adventure tourism company founded in 1999 in Wollongong, New South Wales, with the vision of now becoming the largest and most respected adventure tourism company in the world.

In Australia, Experience Co. owns and operates Skydive Australia along with several marine and tour businesses operating in Far North Queensland, while in New Zealand they run NZONE Skydive, Skydive Wanaka and Skydive Southern Alps.

 

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‘Koha for kiwi’ – Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park appeals for visitors

‘Koha for kiwi’ – Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park appeals for visitors

Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park usually attracts thousands of visitors every year, and is recognised nationwide for its conservation success stories.

And now it needs New Zealand’s help.

After 34 years of operation, and with the same family at the helm, its international visitor numbers have dried up. Like many others it is targeting its domestic and local markets with great deals and packages to help keep the doors open and wildlife programmes running.

And for the month of June it’s launching an innovative ‘Koha for kiwi’ programme to help raise awareness and keep the wolf from the door.

The Kiwi Birdlife Park is a national treasure — it holds and displays over 23 species of native wildlife as part of nationally-managed programmes, takes part in a number of breed-for-release programmes, and has planted over 18,000 native plants providing essential food and shelter to wild native birds.

Park owner and director Paul Wilson says he is “painfully aware” that tourist numbers will be “very, very low” in the coming months.

“While it’s scary to open the gates for koha donations only in June, we recognise that we need to raise awareness of who we are and what we do with New Zealanders who’re being encouraged to explore their own backyard. We have a product that we are very proud of and this is a great opportunity to share it with as many Kiwis as possible.

“We’re not a government funded facility and are completely reliant on visitors and souvenir sales to fund our conservation efforts, while providing the highest level of care for our endangered native wildlife.

“A few months ago we completed a $1million state-of-the-art new kiwi house but partially because of the Covid situation we’re struggling to get the revenue we need to pay for a significant part of the building cost.

“We visited every kiwi house in the country to make sure we built the best, and now have the largest kiwidisplay house of any Park in the country. Four of our kiwi are scheduled to be released into the wild over the next few months, but we keep some breeding pairs to add to this vital programme.”

The park is the first New Zealand facility accredited by Australasia’s Zoo and Aquarium Association for providing ‘positive animal welfare’.

KIWI BIRDLIFE PARK HISTORY

Nearly forty years ago, a Queenstown-based garage owner had an unlikely ‘vision’ – to build the resort town’s first birdlife and conservation park on an overgrown piece of wasteland.

Invercargill-born Dick Wilson and his wife Noeleen moved to Queenstown in the 1950s and opened their first garage and shop in Frankton. Twenty years later, Dick, a remarkable visionary, realised customers were asking where they could see New Zealand’s famous icon the kiwi.

An animal lover who was passionate about nature and native wildlife, he knew a piece of land was being used as a dumping site for old cars and rubbish on the edge of town. He applied to the Lake County Council to lease the land and was granted the lease for the land and use of a natural spring in the early 1980s. He was 57 years old when his dream project was given the green light.

After removing several tonnes of rubbish, fencing the entire area, clearing 2m-high blackberry and broom canes, building ponds and removing about  100 huge pine trees, Dick and son Paul built aviaries, the first Kiwi house and a ticket office, planting 10,000 native trees.

They contacted the New Zealand Wildlife Service (now Department of Conservation) to see how they could go about sourcing some birds, and two long and hard years later officially opened for business on January 13th1986. The park is still owned by Paul Wilson and his wife Sandra.

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Queenstown Excited To Welcome Visitors Again

Queenstown Excited To Welcome Visitors Again

In two recent NZ polls Queenstown has ranked the first choice of destination Kiwis are planning to visit once travel restrictions lift. It’s a great acknowledgement from people across New Zealand that Queenstown is an inspirational destination that they are keen to visit again.

The announcement yesterday that NZ will move to Alert Level 2 on Thursday has been met with delight in Queenstown, with operators in the Southern Hemisphere’s premier holiday destination excited to welcome visitors again and get back to business.

Regional tourism organisation, Destination Queenstown, says the announcement is hugely important and provides a pathway to recovery for tourism operators moving into the vital winter season.

Destination Queenstown interim CEO, Ann Lockhart, says tourism operators are keen to get back to doing what they do best – inviting visitors to share our culture and spectacular part of the country.

“The announcement today will provide some relief for businesses in Queenstown following many weeks of uncertainty. Tourism operators will now be looking at how the rules apply to them, how they can safely operate under alert level 2 and making any adaptations to do so. While this isn’t a total panacea it is a good step in the right direction. DQ will be working with businesses this week to understand their plans and identify any support they may need access to,’’ Ms Lockhart said.

“We are certain that our world leading tourism operators are well equipped to meet requirements to deliver great experiences, in a safe environment. We are excited our ski fields are able to operate, our hospitality sector will be looking forward to serving visitors again soon, and many of our activities will be able to make the guidelines work.”

The return of commercial air services to Queenstown will also go a long way toward getting the Queenstown community back on its feet.

Destination Queenstown (DQ) has developed a framework of marketing activity in response to Covid-19. The approach has three stages; local, regional and domestic and aims to tell our story from the inside out, celebrating our culture and our diversity.

The first campaign, #WeAreQueenstown, launched two weeks ago has centred on the local community. The marketing campaign not only encourages support for local businesses, but aims to inspire community spirit and pride, reminding locals why they choose to call Queenstown home.

DQ began ramping up winter marketing activity last week, following announcement of the inclusion of domestic travel in level 2. This will culminate with the launch of a new winter marketing campaign, targeting the domestic market, on 1 June. The campaign will be a celebration of being back in the outdoors, exploring, discovering and spending time with friends – some true Kiwi favourites.

DQ is also underway with research to get a wider understanding of the domestic market. The work will provide insights to both inform DQ marketing investment and activity but also to deliver key insights for DQ members.

Ms Lockhart says the RTO is keen to unlock the lockdown wanderlust and invite New Zealanders to enjoy our great outdoors, our vibrant town, exceptional dining and iconic activities.

“Queenstown’s world-class activities and outstanding natural beauty have earned Queenstown a collection of accolades over the years and now is the perfect time for Kiwis to experience why.”

New Zealanders have always played an important role in Queenstown’s visitation. Kiwis coming to Queenstown have historically made up a third of all visitors.

This was created by Destination Queenstown and first published on Scoop.

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