“REMOBILISE, RECONSTRUCT AND RECONQUER” was the ambition and method announced by NCT to support the revival of New Caledonia’s international tourism. At a time when New Caledonia no longer requires vaccinated people to quarantine, here is how this recovery plan is moving forward in all directions.
PLANNING TO REOPEN
In New Caledonia, though a certain number of travel restrictions and administrative formalities remain in place (see our infographic on Covid travel conditions from Australia), we can say that with the lifting of the 7-day quarantine for vaccinated people, the “Caillou” (New Cal) is finally ready to welcome a significant number of French, Australian and soon New Zealand then Japanese tourists. In this context, the international Caledonian airline, Aircalin, is gradually increasing its number of flights and is even working on opening a new route via Singapore. Other companies should follow in the months to come, which leads us to envisage, taking into account the forecasts of the world aviation sector, a gradual return to pre-crisis traffic in 2025.
RE-MOBILISE AND SUPPORT THE KEY PLAYERS IN THE RECOVERY PROCESS
As announced, in order to prepare the tourism industry for this recovery, NCT is constantly informing and renewing its links with all stakeholders:
- Governance and membership of NCT: in order to extend its representativeness to the whole territory, NCT will welcome one full member for each institution (State, Government, Southern Province, Northern Province, Loyalty Islands Province) and 17 local socio-professionals to its board of directors. A membership campaign throughout the territory is underway and many new members have already joined the group.
- Assessment of the current tourism portfolio: closures, works, changes in rates or services etc. Until May, in order to know the exact state of the Caledonian tourism portfolio after 2 years of crisis and to inform our distribution networks abroad, NCT and its partners (TPN, ILE, CCI, Sud Tourisme and the tourist offices) have started to completely revise the listing of all Caledonian tourism stakeholders in the common database.
- Recovery Destination Contract: In order to quickly kick-start the recovery with the main stakeholders in the tourism industry (transporters, hoteliers, accommodation providers, GNC, Provinces, GIE, CCI, etc.), NCT has started to draw up a new “recovery destination contract” to “facilitate access to the destination, synchronise commercial and promotional initiatives, create and enhance the tourism offering, organise shared invitations to the media and retailers, and implement health assurances for travellers and more flexible cancellation conditions for COVID-19”. It will thus commit all the signatories to coordinating their initiatives and pooling their resources to achieve specific annual objectives in terms of winning back tourist numbers. The contract is due to be signed in April.
- Raising awareness among stakeholders: the COVID-19 crisis has profoundly changed travellers’ expectations, marketing methods and health standards. Since January, in order to raise awareness of these changes among local professionals and to draw attention to the issues at stake in the recovery, NCT has supported the governmental delegation of the Minister, Mr Mickaël Forrest, in its tour of the field to meet the key players in each of the country’s communes. At the end of April, NCT will also organise several awareness-raising seminars to highlight the new requirements of foreign retailers and tourists in terms of commercial flexibility (reimbursement in the event of Covid), the creation/adaptation of products to new trends and compliance with health standards.
REBUILDING THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE DESTINATION
The next step is to rethink the destination to review our models in a post-Covid world in order to attract the attention and support of our external partners, notably through:
- Working groups and strategic roadmap: while dealing with the urgent needs to get certain sectors back on track, such as the revival of the cruise industry, it is important to collectively redefine a coherent vision of the destination and a longer-term strategic vision for tourism throughout the country, which will then be implemented by all the stakeholders according to their specificities and areas of competence. To this end, NCT will carry out a vast consultation process throughout 2022 by setting up working groups for each sector, which will then be submitted for validation to the competent authorities (the 3 provinces and the Government) for adjustment and implementation over the next 3 to 5 years.
- Health reassurance and clarification of travel conditions: Based on feedback from other destinations and international cooperation organisations, the EIG has provided input to the local authorities to adopt health protocols that meet international standards, accredit the destination to obtain the “Safe Travels” destination label, which reassures travellers and retailers, and simplify entry formalities for travellers. The transmission of model sanitary protocols agreed with the industry, the simplification and translation of entry requirements, the creation of a sanitary guide for local service providers, the promotion of the label, etc. are all prerequisites for the relaunch currently underway.
- Strengthening links with international and national bodies: NCT brings the challenges of the New Caledonian tourism sector to the attention of numerous institutions, in particular the DGOM in the context of the “Destination France” recovery plan in order to benefit from eligible measures and financial arrangements in the overseas territories, Atout France to negotiate co-financing for New Caledonia’s recovery campaigns, the FEDOM to contribute to the reflections and proposals for the 2022-2027 term of office for the attention of the presidential election candidates, and the South Pacific Cruise Alliance for a coherent return to the cruise industry.
RECOVERING LOST TOURIST FLOWS
Finally, while waiting to find out its budget allocation to invest in the direct promotion of the recovery, NCT is preparing its communication and sales initiatives for 2022:
- Inspiration and expectation actions: despite the borders being closed for 2 years, NCT has continued to maintain, at a minimum, the visibility of New Caledonia abroad with the general public and travel professionals, via the field work of its 4 external agencies and multiple targeted digital initiatives. For example, more than 1,600 foreign retailers have been trained online on the destination as part of the “New Cal Specialist” e-learning and incentive programme, more than 500,000 subscribers to social networks and newsletters have been inspired by the permanent creation of attractive multimedia content on the destination, and various competitions such as “Caledonian Xmas” and “New Caledonia Coming Soon” have attracted the attention of hundreds of thousands of internet users. With the reopening of New Caledonia, it is now time to capitalise on these achievements to re-target these numerous prospects, already strongly committed to the destination, by attracting them with campaigns and follow-up offers.
- Communication campaigns: faced with an ultra-competitive international tourism market, each time its target tourist markets (Australia, Japan, New Zealand and France) reopen, New Caledonia must make its unique voice heard by investing massively in major communication campaigns, such as online advertising campaigns, media and influencer invitations, PR operations, content marketing, event support, outdoor advertising and so on. New Caledonia must make it clear to potential tourists that it can once again welcome them by highlighting its many assets in order to attract them. Differentiating campaigns are being developed.
- Sales campaigns: once customers are interested in the destination, they need to be convinced to actually buy a holiday by being offered travel deals at competitive prices. NCT, like all other competing destinations, must therefore negotiate cooperative sales campaigns for each market with the main foreign retailers. For this reason, NCT has started negotiations with the major tour operators, OTAs and airlines to set up several sales operations during the year.
After 2 years of a dramatic COVID crisis for the tourism sector, and with the unprecedented support of the New Caledonian Government following its change of status to a Tourism Promotion Agency for the whole of the destination, NCT is 100% committed to relaunching the country’s tourism economy by raising the hopes of its local service providers, who are just waiting to welcome foreign travellers once again. NCT would like to send you this message from them: “Oléti! See you soon in New Caledonia!”
Press contat : Philippe ARTIGUE firstname.lastname@example.org – +687 24 20 75
About Nouvelle-Calédonie Tourisme Point Sud (New Caledonia Tourism)
New Caledonia Tourism (NCT) is an economic interest grouping (EIG), making connections between its institutional partners and professionals in the sector, to ensure the tourism promotion of New Caledonia at the international level, under its brand ” New Caledonia, Pacific Heart”. Founded in 2001, the grouping, now under New Caledonia government authority, is based in Nouméa, but also has representation in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and metropolitan France.
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