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HomeAustralia & N.ZealandAustralia`s largest Travel and Tourism Media conference heads to Wellington in 2004

Australia`s largest Travel and Tourism Media conference heads to Wellington in 2004

In a joint exercise between Air New Zealand and Positively Wellington Tourism, New Zealand`s capital city has been…

In a joint exercise between Air New Zealand and Positively Wellington Tourism, New Zealand`s capital city has been named as 2004 international host city for Australia`s largest convention of travel and tourism writers and broadcasters.

The decision by the ASTW to hold its annual general meeting in Wellington next year is the first time in 13 years the influential group has visited New Zealand.

Previous international host cities for this prestigious event have included Gyeongju, Korea (2003); Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2002); Shanghai, China (2001); Noumea, New Caledonia (2000); Bangkok, Thailand (1999); and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1998). Australian host cities have included Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Cairns.

Now in its 27th year, the ASTW (www.astw.org.net) has more than 250 Australian members: travel editors, freelance travel writers, photographers and broadcasters and those involved in public relations within the travel industry.

Positively Wellington Tourism`s General Manager Tourism Chris Lamers said the importance of the conference, which would attract between 150 and 300 delegates, could not be underestimated.

This is a valuable opportunity to reintroduce Australia to New Zealand`s Capital City, and is part of a strategic marketing campaign we are commencing in the Australian market he said.

To have so many travel commentators from one of our most important visitor market visiting at one time is important for the international positioning of Wellington as fantastic. The event has the potential to dramatically raise Wellington`s profile as holiday destination in Australia and will build on the publicity we will receive as a result of hosting the world premiere for The Return of the King.

The journalists will not only attend the AGM but will also take the time to explore the region on a range of post conference tours profiling Wellington as an exciting short stay destination for Australians, and an ideal gateway for touring nearby regions including Marlborough, The Wairarapa and Nelson, he said.

Positively Wellington Tourism has identified Australia as a key market for Wellington and recently contracted public relations and sales representation in the market.

Mr Lamers said this commitment to marketing in Australia is part of the reason Wellington was chosen as the city to host this event.

Mr Lamers said Positively Wellington Tourism would not have won the bid without the full support of industry partners, including Wellington City Council, Te Papa, Air New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand and numerous hotels.

The newly-elected President of the ASTW, Ms Lee Atkinson, said Wellington would not only be an outstanding location for the annual conference, but would provide a rich source of material for travel journalist delegates, who are based throughout Australia.

Australia is New Zealand`s largest single source of tourists, and Wellington and the neighbouring regions of Marlborough, Wairarapa and Nelson offer a broad range of activities and attractions for visitors, said Ms Atkinson.

New Zealand is close, affordable, safe and reliable, and through their writing and broadcasts, our members play a major role in building consumer awareness of tourist destinations around the world.

We are very excited by the opportunities presented by New Zealand`s central wine and touring regions, and we look forward to visiting, experiencing and describing the attractions of this rapidly-evolving tourist region.

Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast said she was delighted to hear Wellington City had been chosen by the ASTW.

This is our chance to show Australia what a vibrant and creative city Wellington has become.

The delegates will experience first hand the beauty of our city and the innovation of its people.

Tourism New Zealand`s Chief Executive George Hickton said this was an opportunity to profile Wellington as well as benefiting the whole country.

Australia is our largest visitor market, and has significant growth potential for New Zealand and for Wellington. Raising the profile through this kind of activity is very cost-effective and is one of those rare opportunities to get significant exposure for our country through a single event.

The work that travel writers do is an important part of New Zealand`s marketing activity. With a comparatively small international budget, our marketing campaign needs the extra coverage and credibility that media articles give. Positively Wellington Tourism recognised the huge value of the ASTW AGM and we will be working closely with them to make this event a success.

Air New Zealand will be the official airline for the Australian Society of Travel Writers Annual General Meeting in Wellington.

Tourism is the lifeblood of the New Zealand economy, and Air New Zealand is a major contributor to our inbound tourism industry said the airline`s Senior Vice President, Sales, Distribution, Regional Airlines & Cargo, Mr Norm Thompson.

We recognise and appreciate the value of quality travel writing, and are very active in supporting media and travel agent visits to New Zealand, particularly from Australia – our largest source of international visitors.

Wellington and surrounding regions offer a vast range of exciting new touring options for visitors, and we look forward to significant new exposure for Wellington, and more broadly New Zealand, as a result of this prestigious event.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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