Travel Guides NZ to Reveal What Kiwis Really Think About National Holidays
A reality show known as “Tripadvisor from TV” is expected to offer an unfiltered look at New Zealand as a destination.
New Zealand travel guides will follow five groups of regular Kiwis as they take on the work of travel reviews, noting and reviewing different vacation experiences.
Fans of the Australian version of the series will know that much of the show’s appeal (both to attendees and viewers) lies in international destinations – glamorous places like Tokyo, Bologna and Sri Lanka. .
Then Covid-19 hit, and local manufacturers were suddenly tasked with creating a very different spectacle, said New Zealand travel guides executive producer Andrew Szusterman.
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âOnce we realized that the international version was not going to happen in 2021, we had a quick conversation: ‘How do we make sure that this benefits local tourism? “”
With the help of Tourism New Zealand, the team at South Pacific Pictures drew up a list of potential regions, with Northland, Southland, Gisborne, Marlborough Sounds, Fiordland and Auckland making the final cut.
“We were very keen not to go to the big tourist destinations that you’ve seen on TV before,” said series producer Hayley Cunningham.
âWe were interested in looking at some of the smaller areas, which was sort of the road less traveled. “
The next challenge was to spot some “weird, wacky, and wonderful” activities, with Cunningham, Szusterman, and another producer spending a week in each destination.
The first episode, for example, sees travel guides visiting Adrenalin Adventure Water Park in Ruatangata West and Parrot Place Bird Park in Kerikeri.
âIt’s not just about bungee jumping and skydiving – we’ve discovered a number of activities that most people don’t know about,â Cunningham said.
Understandably, the producers are hoping the show will inspire Kiwi viewers to come out and see their country, as domestic tourism remains crucial as long as borders are still closed. The show is also slated to air in other countries later.
But you would be wrong to think that the show is just an extended commercial for Destination NZ.
Much like their Australian counterparts, Kiwi Travel Guides – a diverse group that reflects New Zealand’s melting pot of cultures – are not shy about sharing their opinions at all.
The Northland episode sees an actor declare the historic town of Russell to be the “worst part of his vacation” because it “just seemed like you had to have a lot of money to be there.”
âBasically it’s a review show,â Cunningham said.
“We had to stick with that for the viewer.”
Szusterman added, âBecause we have such a diverse cast, there is going to be a diversity of opinions.
âWhat we love about the show is that while some people like certain activities and certain accommodations, others don’t. I think overall it gives a really fair and balanced look at New Zealand.
Travel Guides NZ, TVNZ 2, 8 p.m. from Thursday February 18.