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Salmon on the Menu for Culinary Tourists

08 May 2012

NEW ZEALAND - Destination Marlborough has signed a food partnership with New Zealand King Salmon. The company is on the cusp of launching marketing campaigns in several global markets promoting its new premium brand of Marlborough salmon.

According to Destination Marlborough General Manager Tracy Johnston, the region’s reputation is about to get a huge boost as a world-class culinary destination through this partnership.

Ms Johnston says New Zealand King Salmon is the tourism organisation’s first food partner. “Food and wine is becoming more widely used as a marketing tool to attract visitors to New Zealand, Marlborough already has strong recognition as a food and wine destination. This partnership will allow us to take the food and wine messaging a step further in the international tourism marketplace.”

It’s an opinion shared by Peter Mitchell, the editor of Restaurant & Catering News. Mr Mitchell is on record as saying tourists “aren’t just travelling to visit historic and cultural sites alone – they are now travelling for food”.

He says tourists are travelling to “enjoy local and ethnic culinary delights that are now creeping on to our menus. This can be a true destination appeal,” he says.

Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Communications Manager Ann-Marie Johnson agrees. “Food is considered a vital part of a holiday experience for many of the world’s travellers,” Ms Johnson says.

She says there is a natural fit between the tourism and food and beverage sectors. “We both have a commitment to quality, innovation and environmental sustainability plus a desire to give the consumer a fantastic experience.

“Food is also an essential ingredient in the New Zealand visitor experience – whether it’s fine dining, al fresco meals, tasting at the cellar door, mingling with local producers at farmers markets or an authentic Maori hangi experience,” Ms Johnson says.

New Zealand King Salmon is sold throughout New Zealand and in Australia, Asia, Japan and the United States. The company also has its eyes on the European foodservice market, with feedback from a soft launch in Europe last week showing excellent promise.

Destination Marlborough’s Tracy Johnston says the region will benefit from the increased destination profile through the launch of NZ King Salmon’s new premium global brand which is being supported with significant marketing campaigns in key inbound tourism markets for the region, and export markets of NZ King Salmon. “It is the ultimate food tourism combination,” she says.

Ms Johnston says Destination Marlborough had been working to link food producers into the tourism marketing efforts to complement the group of wine producers and experience providers who are already proactively involved in marketing initiatives with the organisation. Destination Marlborough has been in discussion with NZ King Salmon since last year to develop this partnership that will further leverage food, wine and tourism promotions in key international markets.

“We have been working with NZ King Salmon for some time to represent Marlborough’s food and wine proposition including the highly successful PWT Pop-Up Restaurant promotions in Sydney and Melbourne last year. Now we have formalised that relationship to link New Zealand King Salmon into more of our promotional work and to trade off their international marketing activity to feature the destination.”

Next week NZ King Salmon will support Marlborough’s regional participation at TRENZ in Queenstown with local chef Chris Fortune cooking Regal Marlborough Salmon for delegates in the Demonstration kitchen, celebrating New Zealand food, wine and cuisine offerings. This annual event brings together about 280 New Zealand tourism operators (Exhibitors) with a similar number of invited international travel and tourism buyers and media from New Zealand’s major tourism markets.

New Zealand King Salmon CEO Grant Rosewarne says there are significant benefits for the company in joining the Destination Marlborough programme.

“Marlborough already has a wonderful reputation locally and offshore and it makes sense to promote the region at the same time as promoting our salmon. We anticipate that Marlborough and all its attractions will share in the media attention alongside our premium salmon products.”

Destination Marlborough manages the Blenheim and Picton i-SITEs and is the regional tourism organisation responsible for promoting Marlborough as a visitor destination both domestically and internationally.

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