26 Apr 2012

New Zealand's 100% Pure campaign questioned

8:00 am on 26 April 2012

Questions are being asked about the potency of New Zealand's 100% pure marketing campaign and whether it is doing enough to promote the country as a tourism destination in the lucrative Chinese market.

But the organisation behind the campaign insists it is working and that an industry wide review is not on the cards.

Director of the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute at AUT University, Simon Milne, wants to see a different approach given the technology and social media tools now available.

He also says Tourism New Zealand needs to be up front and not over promise.

He says one of the problems with the campaign is that, environmentally, New Zealand is not 100% pure.

Chinese visitors are now spending on average $300 a night more than any other tourists and Airports Association's chief executive Kevin Ward says they are looking for more than just clean, green countryside.

He says shopping is important to Chinese tourists, particularly for brands with a luxury cachet.

But Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler says the campaign has helped to attract an extra million visitors a year over the last decade.

Some tourism operators are also cautious about changing the strategy.

The operator of Wilson's Abel Tasman in Nelson, Darryl Wilson, says being fickle with branding can be detrimental.

He says the world is littered with brands that have been changed willy-nilly with mixed results.

He says New Zealand is best served by sticking to its knitting.

Mr Bowler says the campaign has given New Zealand an internationally- renowned identity, and there will not be an industry-wide review.