New Zealand starts new tourism campaign as post-COVID visits lag

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New Zealand starts new tourism campaign as post-COVID visits lag © Reuters. People walk alongside the sea in Wellington, New Zealand, August 3, 2023. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli/File Photo

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By Lucy Craymer

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand is launching a new tourism campaign with director and actor Taika Waititi to attract visitors after the sector was hammered by COVID-19 and border closures.

Tourism New Zealand on Wednesday will premiere a 3-1/2 minute promotional film featuring the Oscar winner and Jade Daniels, his stunt double in the HBO romantic comedy series “Our Flag Means Death” which is filmed in New Zealand.

Visitors from United States are a major target audience, said Rene de Monchy, chief executive for Tourism New Zealand. The film, shot in December 2022, will also play on social media platforms in Australia, Germany, the UK and parts of Asia.

“Competition is heating up and economic times are a bit tough in many parts of the world so we’ve got to keep being innovative and top of mind for people.”

Prior to COVID and the closure of New Zealand’s borders, international tourism was New Zealand’s largest source of foreign exchange and accounted for about 5.5% of gross domestic product.

Tourists are returning but overseas visitors in July were still 16% lower than in July 2019.

The film, which cost NZ$689,000($409,890) to make, highlights activities like dolphin watching in Kaikoura on the South Island’s east coast and wine tasting in the country’s largest city Auckland.

($1 = 1.6810 New Zealand dollars)

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