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Jacinda’s New York magic inspires tourism to NZ

October 4, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Tourism New Zealand is delighted with the publicity the country’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has generated while visiting New York for the United Nations General Assembly – accompanied by her husband Clarke Gayford and their three-month-old baby daughter Neve.

Millions of people have been hearing about New Zealand through Ardern’s interviews with US media – she even revealed that she auditioned unsuccessfully for one of the hobbit films!

Tourism NZ chief executive Stephen England-Hall said many Americans were thinking of New Zealand as a destination to visit and were fascinated by the country, having seen Ardern on TV. Ardern’s exposure would mean more tourism for New Zealand, which then translates into revenue, he told New Zealand’s AM Show.

“We’re certainly seeing an increase in visitor volume and also visitor value over the last few years,” England-Hall said.

A good example of Ardern in action can be seen on this clip of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in New York. Colbert is a noted Lord of the Rings fan and Ardern offered him “citizenship of Hobbiton”.

Ardern comes across as charming and disarming, with a good sense of humour. Being young and female, she contrasts sharply with the image of many politicians, who are predominantly middle-aged men. Ardern tells Colbert of her country, a land where she meets her fellow citizens in the street, in the stores, even when buying a maternity bra.

She manages to handle the tricky topic of Donald Trump wittily and skilfully.

No wonder it’s boosting the country’s international appeal!

Ardern also took time out of her packed New York schedule to meet with Oscar-winning actor and Les Misérables star Anne Hathaway, a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. Hathaway reportedly asked to meet with Ardern, who is the youngest female national leader in the world and only the second prime minister in history to have a baby while in office.

Jacinda Ardern meets Stephen Colbert on American late night TV

The New York Times observed:

“In many ways – temperament, style and policy, among them – Ms. Ardern is the polar opposite of President Trump and other brash male leaders. 

“She has become a subject of global fascination for her progressive values, her youth and charisma, and her status as a new mother who has garnered more attention than any previous leader of this small Pacific country.”

That about sums it up.

New Zealand has had 3.9 million visitors in the last 12 months, and in five years that number is projected to top 5 million, overtaking the country’s population, which currently stands at 4.7 million.

Written by Peter Needham

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