Familiar faces . . . Some of the stars of Tourism Waitaki's "The Sweet Spot of New Zealand" campaign are (from left) Purple Taylor, Natalie Whelan, Cranos Chikowore, Shevaun Thomas and Cindy Mottelet. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/TOURISM WAITAKI

Tourism Waitaki has launched a new campaign dubbing the district “The Sweet Spot of New Zealand”.

The 16-week campaign aims to encourage New Zealanders and Australians to discover the true meaning of sweetness by visiting the Waitaki district.

Tourism Waitaki general manager Margaret Munro said the campaign would also include a nine-episode web series featuring different characters, including New Zealand comedian Tom Sainsbury, who explain what makes the district “so sweet” to them.

Mrs Munro said the premise of “The Sweet Spot” campaign was to showcase Waitaki and its place in New Zealand, and show how much the district had to offer New Zealanders and Australians.

It would highlight experiences that could be enjoyed during the winter season, including award-winning cuisine, the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, Ohau Snow Fields, the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, Steampunk HQ and the Waitaki Whitestone Aspiring Global Geopark.

The Waitaki district’s claim as “The Sweet Spot of New Zealand was officially approved by Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, who said it was a quick decision.

“Waitaki is the sweet spot, quite simply, because we have everything here,” Mr Kircher said.

Tourism Waitaki also hoped the campaign would “champion community aspirations to see the Waitaki recognised as its own entity”, rather than under the umbrella of North Otago, South Canterbury or Central Otago, Mrs Munro said.

Mrs Munro was cautiously optimistic about a boost in tourism from Australians visiting the Waitaki district this winter, after the two-way quarantine-free travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia opened last month.

“I think we might see the bigger boost coming this summer, specifically around the Alps 2 Ocean,” Mrs Munro said.

During the 2018-19 Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail season, Australians made up 14% of the Alps 2 Ocean website’s traffic. At present, Australians still made 7% of the website’s hits, proving it was on people’s “wish lists”, she said.

As Tourism New Zealand rolled out a number of campaigns over the next year, regional tourism operators, including Waitaki, were “feeding” activities and attractions into them.

“They’ve developed what we call the Australian playbook,” she said.

Tourism New Zealand’s first campaign was designed around the ski season, and would be followed by various adventure campaigns.

“Hopefully we get some of [those] ski [visitors],” she said.

A trailer for Tourism Waitaki’s “Sweet Spot of New Zealand” campaign was released last week. Coming videos will be released on Tourism Waitaki’s website and social media channels.

  • Additional reporting Kayla Hodge