Newsletter : January 2018
Written by Steph Kendall
In this January newsletter:
Positive Way to Encourage Responsible Tourism
The New Zealand Herald reported that tourism company, thl is keen to launch a scheme in New Zealand whereby visitors pledge to be responsible tourists. Based on an Icelandic initiative, the 'Kiwipledge' asks visitors to sign up to the agreement asking them, amongst other things, to "make mates and take only memories," "stay on the roads," "only park where I am supposed to" and "when nature calls, I won't answer the call on nature."
Grant Webster, chief executive of Tourism Holdings was reported as saying that, "We see this as a positive, values-based approach to demonstrate our expectations of travellers and help guide them to see what we are about. Why not keep positive and educate people. I would suggest that if we can get traction over time then this could become a very compelling tool for guiding people and reminding them how to behave."
Indonesia Shows Strong Market Potential
Research conducted by Tourism New Zealand shows that a preference for New Zealand as a holiday destination is not only growing in Indonesia, but that preferences are converting into arrivals.
In the year ending November 2017, more than 16,000 Indonesians visited New Zealand for a holiday (25 percent increase on the previous year). The biggest increase during the New Zealand spring during which time Indonesia experiences a hot, humid rainy season.
The results come as Tourism New Zealand's advocate in Indonesia, Nadine Chandrawinata, returns to New Zealand to shoot a new campaign.
Tourism New Zealand's Steven Dixon says the new research, combined with the increase in arrivals, shows that Tourism New Zealand's activity is having impact and highlights the continued potential of the market to deliver value to New Zealand.
DOC's Resources Under Strain
As tourist numbers soar, concerns have grown about how the Department of Conservation (DOC) is meeting its dual responsibilities to look after visitors and protect the environment.
International tourist numbers are projected to double in the next five years, increasing pressure on tracks, bridges, huts, visitor centres, toilets, car parks and other infrastructure.
DOC's departmental budget increased by about $18 million in 2017-18, climbing to $376m, with the department saying 47 per cent of that was for biodiversity and 39 per cent for recreation.
Annual visitor numbers at the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (TAC) show how demand for recreational opportunities on the DOC estate has soared. DOC figures show 45,000 people visited the TAC annually 10 years ago. By 2016-17, the number was 125,000 – almost all in the warmer months between October and May. That's a consistent compounding annual growth rate of about 10 per cent.
About 3.7m New Zealanders visited public conservation areas – from national parks to marine reserves – at least once a year, as did 1.4m international visitors. The average increase in international visitors to all 13 national parks last year from a year before was 12 per cent.
An interesting opinion piece published online by Marianna Sigala recently highlighted some of the ways in which technology has changed the way we travel and document our journeys.
Easy access to online media via phones, tablets and computers to travellers' reviews, photos and blogs can inspire travelling across the world – and enable flights, accommodation and tours to be booked within minutes. As tourism experiences do not have 'try before you buy' guarantees, the online 'word of mouth' recommendations in all their formats (posts, tweets, selfies, video, influencers' media) are relied on – no matter their accuracy.
Sigala questions whether selfie tourism is a good thing; that travellers may feel a need to create idealised images of their trips and that the way they behave at destinations can be influenced by the need to take selfies. Instagram hosts a staggering 340 million posts plus hash tagged with #me. The numbers game is quite eye-watering and for any marketing department getting promotional posts featuring 'major' keywords in the hashtag seen by a targeted audience, is as challenging as ever. Forget the #me tag, 10.5m posts feature #newzealand, 4.8m posts feature #nz, 2.9m posts feature #auckland and 2964 posts feature #nztourist.
At times, people's absorption with selfies can lead to problems with safety, cultural sensitivity and environmental impacts. Interestingly some museums and attractions ban selfie sticks for the physical protection of other tourists and selfies are banned at the Eiffel Tower.
It would be interesting to see whether tourists may appreciate the marketing of an outright 'selfie ban' or 'no selfie zone'… perhaps just a few hours off? Then, of course still time to make sure everyone's posting with the hashtag of your choice! #eyesopennewzealand
Tips for Business: The Importance of Body Language
This is the second article in a new series of tips for business focussing on how to give great customer service to international visitors. Body language is perhaps the most important language or communication tool used throughout the world. To create the best impression from the get-go, it's important that every member of your team appreciate some of the cultural differences in, and uses of body language which may enable them to make your customers feel comfortable and enjoy their experience. At the same time appreciation of body language may also help them improve their own body language.
Things to think about include:
- Eye contact - How much eye contact do you use? Does it show respect or interest? Or does it depend on who it is and their relationship to you and their status?
- Standing/ Personal space - How do you prefer to stand? Close to someone speaking or a little further apart. Does this distance change depending on your relationship with that person?
- Physical contact - Do you use physical contact? Do you greet people using close contact (kisses on the cheek) or do you prefer more limited contact (such as a handshake)? Is it normal for you to touch other people when talking to them (i.e. putting your hand on their shoulder)?
- Comfort - How comfortable are you when people do not use body language in the same way as you? How do you feel if someone gets 'too close'?
- Plain speaking - How direct are you when you're talking to people? Do you try to make things clear to avoid misunderstandings?
- Feelings - How much do you show your feelings when you talk? Do you use gestures and facial expressions to help you communicate? Does your voice vary in pitch and volume? Do you control your voice however you are feeling?
- Greetings / address - How do you address people? Are you formal using titles – Mr, Mrs, Miss – or less formal using first names?
A positive stereotype of New Zealanders being "friendly and down to earth" and "laidback and welcoming" exists, which is a wonderful national business card to have. The body language we choose to use can support this image and it doesn't always come naturally. Here are a few tips on how to use body language to:
- Generate confidence - To boost your own confidence – and people's confidence in you – assume a 'power pose' such as standing with legs and arms stretched wide.
- Focus on people - Stay attentive to your customer and do not be tempted to multitask (texting, answering the phone, chatting to other staff) – turn your head and torso to the customer and let them know you're listening.
- Take away (physical) barriers - Remove anything on your desk, reception counter (plant, leaflet stand, coffee cup) that creates a barrier between you and your customer. Look comfortable and hold your hands at waist level.
- Make connections - Touch is the most powerful non-verbal way to establish a human bond. Shaking hands with someone creates a positive impression and is comfortable for many cultures.
- Welcome people - Through a powhiri, Maori greet visitors in a traditional way that for many will be a highlight of their visit. This unique protocol is best experienced on a marae (read more about Maori culture).
- Improve your speech - Use your hands to help you form clearer thoughts and speak with more certainty and confidence.
- Create good - The last, and probably the best, is to use a genuine smile to let people know you are approachable, friendly and trustworthy. A genuine smile comes on slowly, crinkles the eyes, lights up the face and fades away slowly. When you smile at someone, they almost always smile in return.
Top Tourism Site of the Month
This month's Top Tourism Site Award goes to Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures.
It's hard to look at this website without wishing oneself away to the Abel Tasman national park, not only as the photographs help make the scenery and sailing experience sing out, but because they include many images of "real" people enjoying themselves. Using real people in photography helps fire people's imagination – it's aspirational – it gets them imagining themselves doing the same as the people in the pictures. This is a delight to see. The site design also organised the different tour options very clearly with clear headings, easy navigation, selection tick boxes and strong call to actions. As with most responsive designs, this site also looks just as good on smaller tablets and mobile phones as a desktop computer. And finally, hats off for the domain name itself, rich in keywords and easy to remember!
Nominate a Site
About the Top Tourism Site Award
The New Zealand Tourism Guide confers a Top Tourism Site Award to websites that:
- Enhance New Zealand as a travel destination
- Publish useful and informative content
- Are laid out in a professional and aesthetically-pleasing manner
- Are designed effectively for the World Wide Web
- June demonstrate easy functionality, interactivity, originality, outstanding graphic quality and marketing reach.