Liam Butler interviews Tourism NZ CEO Kevin Bowler

How does Tourism NZ market to older people in key international markets to achieve maximum yield for our tourism industry?

Kevin Bowler, Chief Executive, Tourism New Zealand

In order to get the best value from its marketing spend, Tourism New Zealand carries out extensive research to target those people who are already actively considering coming to New Zealand on holiday, people we call ‘active considerers’.

These people are not just aware of New Zealand and interested in coming here ‘someday.’  These are who people who have New Zealand on their top five list of places they would like to visit and they are prepared to spend a certain amount of money.

The information we gather from our research of active considerers helps us to tailor our marketing messages to the interests and priorities of this group of people in each market, with the aim of converting their ‘interest’ in New Zealand into a confirmed booking.

One of the key groups of people we target are active boomers.  Active boomers are typically semi or fully retired independent travellers who are active people,  attracted to New Zealand’s outdoors. They may spend an average of three weeks in New Zealand and broadly, their special interests include visiting natural attractions,  indigenous culture, nature walking, food and wine.

The kind of holidays older people are seeking vary from market to market. Just like any other group of visitors, some older people prefer to drive themselves, or travel in tour groups as part of a package tour. People want to feel safe but they also want to learn and explore new things – experience something they can’t do at home.  Older people visit New Zealand from many countries but the majority of our older visitors are from Australia, UK, USA, and Japan.

In addition to appealing to this broad group of potential visitors, Tourism New Zealand has a focus on special interest visitors, many of whom may be active boomers who, for instance, particularly enjoy exploring our unique landscapes and history on New Zealand’s network of cycle trails. 

Tourism New Zealand puts considerable effort into working with travel agents overseas, providing them with the information about what is new and what’s available that may appeal to active boomers planning a visit to New Zealand. In addition to our two offices in New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand also has 12 overseas offices marketing New Zealand as a tourist destination.

Many people now want to plan their own holidays from information they gather online and Tourism New Zealand’s website,  New   is a hugely popular source of information for potential visitors. The website has extensive information about what to see and do, destinations, transport and accommodation. It also has a wide range of suggested itineraries to inspire would-be visitors.  Social media, particularly Facebook, is also popular with older people planning a holiday to New Zealand.  Tourism New Zealand’s Facebook page  is well worth a look.

I hope this is helpful in explaining how we go about ‘selling’ New Zealand. I think the best thing people who are thinking of travelling to New Zealand can do is to jump online to our website.  The possibilities are endless.

About Liam Butler