Daniel Wright, distribution and partnerships manager, New Zealand; Karen Fitzgerald, general manager experiences; both Tourism Australia Daniel Wright, distribution and partnerships manager, New Zealand; Karen Fitzgerald, general manager experiences; both Tourism Australia

Signature Experiences

Now is the right time to be spiking the curiosity of the New Zealand market and providing premium options for clients seeking something different, says Karen Fitzgerald, Tourism Australia’s general manager experiences.

‘We speak to the curious. People may have looked further afield in the past but one thing Covid has done is made many of us look differently at our backyards. They realise there are many experiences they hadn’t considered in the past and now they are keen to discover them.’

Fitzgerald’s comments came during the first visit to these shores by Signature Experiences of Australia – a trip that included an afternoon of education and networking with leisure travel agents, wholesalers and incentive-business events organisers at The Libraries – Hotel Britomart, Auckland late February.

Signature Experiences of Australia started with one collection in 2011 but now has eight – Luxury Lodges of Australia, Great Walks of Australia, Great Golf Courses of Australia, Discover Aboriginal Experiences, Cultural Attractions of Australia, Australian Wildlife Journeys, Great Fishing Adventures of Australia and Ultimate Winery Experiences of Australia.

‘We feel these align with what New Zealanders are seeking,’ adds Fitzgerald. ‘The collections now represent about 190 tourism businesses across Australia and offer more than 700 export ready, fully commissionable experiences.

Representatives from the various collectives gave New Zealand trade an update on new developments but also took a ‘did you know?’ approach to provide a wider appreciation of what is offered.

They also spoke of ongoing sustainability efforts and illustrated how individual businesses in the collectives care for community and environment.

Positive feedback immediate

Representatives from Signature Experiences of Australia say the feedback from their trade events in New Zealand has been immediate and positive.

Exhibiting at the International Media Marketplace in Sydney on Friday, 24 February, Kate Shilling from Ultimate Wineries of Australia said she had a strong enquiry the day after the Auckland presentation.

‘The industry has been through a tough time and I think the people who have made it have got through because they are imaginative and creative – they are thinking about the future and what customers want.’

Shilling says that made Signature Experiences of Australia resonate with the market.

‘We have eight different collectives that can add colour to any itinerary and I think New Zealand agents understand that.’

Nicole Mitchell, from Discover Aboriginal Experiences says the New Zealand trip was a good opportunity to make people more aware of the diversity of Aboriginal culture.

‘The New Zealand market is always interested in active outdoor experiences and that’s what we offer – from one hour to multi day experiences.’

She says the collective has just launched a new website with a dedicated trade and media portal – something that was welcomed by New Zealand agents.

Annabel Sullivan, from Cultural Attractions of Australia, says New Zealand attendees mentioned how much they enjoyed seeing all the collectives together.

‘They not only heard about the additions they could make to clients’ itineraries but also got an overall update on what’s happening in Australia right now. I had agents come up to me and say how they felt inspired with the new ideas they had been given.’

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