Despite being digital natives, German visitors Ina Marzahn (18) and Florin Frank (19) are still big fans of tourist brochures and they are not alone.
VisitorPoint, New Zealand’s only national distributor of travel and tourism information, dispatched close to 11 million brochures last year, a record 1.3m in January alone.
Business development manager Jenni Powell said almost 40 per cent of visitors still used brochures as their main source of information for bookings, and the young Germans were no exception.
“Print is not dead in New Zealand, that’s for sure.”
Marzahn liked having brochures to stick into her travel diary.
“We like to have it as a memory and to show family and friends. We can look it up and say, that was very beautiful.”
Frank said brochures were easier to slip into a pocket than a big travel guide, were good for local travel tips, and meant he didn’t end up “walking around like a digital zombie” staring at a screen.
The only down side was the amount of waste paper they accumulated.
Powell said VisitorPoint had more than 2000 display stands nationally in places like hotels, motels and airports, and also supplied a further 2000 information centres and trade outlets.
“We have 3.5m [brochures] in a Queenstown warehouse at the moment and one company has 150 titles; it’s amazing.
“A lot of tourists potentially don’t have access to the internet so they’re looking for information they can just pick up.”
Tourism operators still put a high priority on brochures because they attracted direct custom, avoiding paying commissions to agents, said Powell.
“They’re getting really clever with their brochure design so they make sure it’s compelling enough for somebody to choose them over their competition.”
Brochures were available 24/7 in places like airports, and visitors frequently used them as a basis for further online research, so it was important for tourism businesses to maintain good websites.
Powell said brochures were printed in up to 10 different languages, with a lot more Chinese content appearing over the last two years, and an increase in Japanese translations too.
The increased number published also reflected tourism growth in the regions with a 30 per cent jump in demand from Northland, Marlborough and Dunedin.
VisitorPoint had also noticed more demand from Christchurch operators who were making an effort to get information to visitors in locations like Kaikoura before they actually arrived in the city.
The company was conscious of minimising waste, with outdated or surplus brochures recycled, Powell said.
“We try to help [operators] get the right print run so there’s no wastage.”