Several significant visitor-focused projects are underway here at CEDA with a purpose to raise the profile of our region and to grow the number of visitors we have coming to Palmerston North and Manawatū.

The region’s biggest visitor market is people visiting friends and family, which is an important foundation to the work we’re doing and approach we’re taking with these projects.

CEDA is the Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) for Manawatū and we are tasked with building the reputation and experience of the region. We’re doing this in a number of ways and below is a selection of projects that are currently underway:

A Day in a Tourist’s Journey

We’re all aware of the traditional flow of visitors from north to south along the golden route of State Highway One, and the growing desire of Kiwi’s to explore their own backyard, so this body of work is just as the name suggests: how do we capture a day in people’s travel itinerary and bring them to Manawatū?

We started with the fundamentals – the domestic markets we are aiming to attract, what they want from their travel experience, the most effective channels to reach these travellers, what the region has to offer right now, and what the gaps and/or barriers are.

A full stock take of the region’s existing, potential and new tourism product (including accommodation and activities, which can be sold with commission through travel agents) has been completed.

We now have clearly defined project pathways for domestic marketing in terms of the delivery of product and packaging, which ties in with our Regional Identity work. Alongside this we are identifying and prioritising the highest value opportunities for development. An important component in this work is identifying all relevant sources of investment including, but not limited to the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) and beginning application processes.

Cycling in the Manawatū

Applications to the Provincial Growth Fund

We are working with the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and Fresh Info to assess a range of opportunities and projects in the visitor market, and their suitability and likelihood of success through the PGF. We will then be engaging with our shareholders and other stakeholders across the region – seeking guidance, expertise and support for the applications.

Development of a Regional Identity for Manawatu

We are leading the development of a cohesive regional identity for Manawatū to improve awareness and perceptions of the region and city, with a goal to increase visitor numbers and create sustainable business growth through consistent branding and messaging. To do this we are working with The Research Agency (TRA), both our shareholders Palmerston North City Council and Manawatū District Council and local iwi representatives. We are making good progress and have chosen to base the work on what research and data tells us about peoples’ perceptions and knowledge of the city and region. This project is on track for completion by summer which will tie in with our packaging and campaign work as part of the ‘Day in a Tourists Journey’.

Women walking in Palmerston North

Redevelopment of ManawatuNZ.co.nz

We have recently completed stage one of the redevelopment of ManawatuNZ.co.nz, which focused on enhancing the user experience, connecting with tourism operators to ensure they are featured on the website, updating the images of the city and region and refreshing the content around what to do and see in the region. As the digital window to the region, it is important we set a good first impression and stage two of the redevelopment will be a continuous creation and sourcing of new content, new imagery and making sure the site is easy to navigate. We’ll also be connecting with our key national partners, including Air New Zealand, AA Traveller Digital and travel bloggers to showcase Manawatū through a visitor’s eyes.

Face of Manawatū campaign in partnership with More FM

Because visiting friends and family is our biggest visitor market, we need to ensure locals are aware of all that’s on offer here as they’re our biggest advocates and tour guides when hosting visitors. New Zealand’s population base has a large percentage of expats living here, and with Manawatu’s diverse local population we’ve got a real opportunity to make the most of this and ensure our locals know and explore our region and have a valuable experience that they’ll want to share with their friends and families.

To raise locals’ awareness of ManawatuNZ.co.nz we’ve teamed up with More FM to create the Face of Manawatu, a campaign where residents send in photos of them out and about in the region which will then be used to create a giant mosaic image on a billboard that will be in Palmerston North and Feilding over the next six weeks.

Face of Manawatū Pohangina Valley

Facilitating and hosting media visits to the city and region

We regularly liaise with national and international media organisations for features on Palmerston North and Manawatū. This may be putting forward itineraries on where to go, putting them in touch with tourism operators and proactively approaching them to write about and feature our region.

Recent media features include:

  • Kia Ora Magazine
  • New Zealand Life & Leisure
  • Cuisine Magazine
  • AA Traveller Digital, and AA Directions Magazine
  • Shizenyoku – Seikatsu Book

All of these projects are intrinsically linked and complimentary, they provide a solid platform for us to continue taking Manawatū to the rest of New Zealand and grow the number of visitors to our region. Please discover more of the work we do to support tourism operators through CEDA.nz, including our Resource Hub and Data & Insights, or for more consumer offerings at ManawatuNZ.co.nz.

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