Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tourism NZ provides Corporate Welfare?

The New Zealand taxpayer has provided corporate welfare of $200,000 to an American production crew filming a dating show in New Zealand.

Tourism NZ (TNZ) CEO George Hickton has qualified this "investment" by reporting an increase in web traffic on and anecdotal evidence of NZ tourism operators receiving phone calls from Americans wanting to make bookings after watching the final show on TV.

Apparently, Tourism NZ "never anticipated on getting such a great return." I guess we can be thankful that TNZ are willing to take a punt with our money!

This begs some questions:

Was the payment of $200,000 to an American production company necessary?

Would the production crew have come to NZ anyway if no payment was made?

What other similar payments have been made by TNZ?

How is the economic return on these speculative "investments" qualified?

7 Mar 2009

New Zealand tourism has been given its biggest boost in the United States since Lord of the Rings after a high-rating reality TV series was filmed here.

The number of hits on Tourism New Zealand's website doubled this week after the final episode of The Bachelor went to air in the US.

The Bachelor might not be your idea of quality viewing, but this American dating show is doing more for New Zealand tourism than officials ever could have imagined.

The two final episodes of the show were filmed here in January - one in Queenstown and the other in the Bay of Islands.

The final aired in the US on Monday, attracting a massive 17 million viewers - the highest rating show in the US that night.

"Website traffic for us since has doubled since it went out there," says Tourism NZ CEO George Hickton, "and we've had people in New Zealand talking about Americans, ringing them and making bookings, saying 'I want that piece I saw on The Bachelor,' so it's working."

The Bachelor is the first American reality series to film here, and the premise for the show is essentially this: hunky guy gets to pick his future partner from a choice of eager contestants.

Tourism NZ gave the production crew $200,000, but they never anticipated on getting such a great return.

"For 200,000, it's the best investment we've made for years," says Mr Hickton. "America is all about celebrities and what's happening now, and so we are hot at the moment and that's the real thing to be."

Tourism NZ says there has not been this much media coverage around New Zealand since Lord of the Rings, and it is the first real spike in interest from America since the recession hit. But officials say the attention won't last long, and tourism operators will have to move quickly to capitalise on any publicity.

Source: Click HERE

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