We’re proud to announce that our Family Vacation Advisor Kristi Marcelle has been selected by Tourism New Zealand to represent Virtuoso and CB! as one of six global agency ambassadors for New Zealand travel. What an honor! As Kristi was preparing for a visit to this incredible country, we chatted with her about New Zealand tourism opportunities with kids, as well as the places she’ll visit and her planned activities — all of which she’ll put into practice afterward as she designs custom trips for families. Thanks, Kristi, and congratulations!
New Zealand Tourism Ideas for Families
What led to your being named a New Zealand ambassador, and what is the significance of this honor?
Tourism New Zealand has a campaign telling the story of Manaakitanga, which in Maori means something close to hospitality and is a cornerstone of any visit to New Zealand. I’ve been sharing my experiences about family travel on Ciao Bambino and on social media for more than 10 years, and I love the type of experience that New Zealand offers visitors, so I was a perfect fit for the opportunity.
Being chosen as one of six global travel trade ambassadors recognizes the importance of what we’ve been doing at Ciao Bambino for years: sharing a story that allows others to read it and create their own chapters. And there is great trust involved in someone allowing me to help tell their story. I hope that I’ll tell it well and and bring my own family back to experience this amazing country.
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Will this be your first trip to New Zealand, and how long will you be there?
Yes, this will be my first trip. I’ll be there for 10 days, traveling with the five other New Zealand travel ambassadors from the USA, Germany and the UK in a whirlwind itinerary of activities and experiences that are uniquely New Zealand.
What are some of the highlights of your itinerary?
I enjoy creating itineraries that combine cultural learning with soft adventure and culinary experiences, and New Zealand is the perfect destination for that. On this trip I’ll have the opportunity to experience Maori culture through food and local customs — it’s always encouraging to visit countries that integrate and celebrate their indigenous heritage. It’s part of what makes a destination unique and memorable for travelers.
On this trip, we’re seeing New Zealand by air, land and sea. We’ll take advantage of the flightseeing options to hike around the crater of a volcano in Rotorua, see Auckland from above and explore the wilderness of Abel Tasman via hiking and kayaking. I’m looking forward to getting out in nature and exploring, and coming back to a great glass of wine afterward.
What are you most looking forward to?
The unexpected. I’m looking forward to being surprised and awed by the landscape and new experiences I’m going to try. I’ve rarely been to a destination where I look at the name of the activity and have no idea what it is. We’re “zorbing” on this trip and I had to look that up on the Internet. As a travel planner, so much of what I do is about recommending experiences that I think are a good fit for the client, but nothing beats being spontaneous and trying something new with no expectations.
What do you think makes New Zealand such an appealing destination with kids?
New Zealand is a true adventure. For the most part, kids like engaging and immersive hands-on experiences, lots of action and animals. New Zealand has so many ways to combine these on trips, and they are found all over the country, appealing not only to kids of all ages but every adult’s inner kid too.