Dunedin businesses appeal to locals after launch of new tongue-in-cheek campaign

Dunedin businesses are urging locals to step up after the launch of an advertising campaign encouraging Kiwis to visit. 

The Dunedin City Council's tongue-in-cheek tagline is part of its new marketing campaign to try and entice Kiwis to the city to boost local tourism after the COVID-19 lockdown. It's called "a pretty good Plan D".

Many local businesses are trying to attract Kiwis to their stores, one of which is the Royal Albatross Centre. Operations manager Chris McCormick says they're running a special shortened tour for half the usual price.

"Some locals still haven't actually been here, and they've been living in Dunedin for over 40 years. So we really want those locals to come and experience us."

International tourists make up more than 80 percent of their business. McCormick wants locals to be ambassadors for attractions like theirs as domestic tourism cranks up.

Craft chocolate maker Ocho is also hoping to find a sweet spot to replace its international visitors. Tour and events manager Jared Smith says it's launched a new drinking chocolate and a white cherry bar, along with a cheaper and tastier factory tour.

"The emphasis now is a bit less on tourism and more on the actual tasting of chocolate, which is pretty cool. People are pretty receptive to that, and it's good to be back and talking about it again.

Dunedin's Larnach Castle is also suffering from the loss of international businesses and it's forced a major restructuring at the popular attraction, the castle's marketing manager Deborah Price says,

"We've really had to reinvent ourselves over the last couple of weeks, think very hard how we're going to do things going forward."

They've initially turned to locals for support by offering a 12-month pass for the cost of a single entry, with kids for free.

That's encouraging repeat visitors, who spend time enjoying the cafe and the giftshop while they're here.

"And they're voting with their dollars to help keep us going. It's wonderful," Price says.