NEW YORK — As part of its push to bolster travel from the US, Tourism New Zealand has named M Booth as its new North American agency of record.

EVP Jon Paul Buchmeyer will head the effort, which will include the breadth of initiatives – earned media, partnerships and PR activations among them, according to M Booth, which has been growing its roster of travel-related clients. DQMPR was Tourism New Zealand’s previous agency.

Buchmeyer, who also serves as M Booth’s director of brand strategy, said the number one challenge is getting New Zealand off travelers’ “bucket lists” and onto their “must-do” lists. 

“The great thing about New Zealand is it has an extremely high brand awareness in the US," he said. "But there are still misconceptions about how long it takes to get there, what they can do once they get there and how easy it is to travel around once they are there. Our challenge is to put some real specifics around it so people feel good and confident.”

Buchmeyer said he plans to accomplish that leveraging M Booth's expertise in travel-related clients (Carnival Cruise Line, Marriott International and the British Virgin Islands are among its accounts), which involve positioning places like New Zealand as robust brands rather than destinations. Reaching consumers via platforms outside traditional travel outlets is part of the plan, he said. 

Tourism New Zealand selected M Booth from an initial pool of about 20 agencies, six of which were selected to submit formal proposals, Buchmeyer said.