The Kiwi Specialist course consists of 12 online modules. Topics include sales techniques, Maori experiences, food and wine and regional modules.
Each module is followed by a 20-question multiple choice test. To pass you need to score 100% in a minimum of eight modules.
You can retake tests until you get it right – but questions change each time you restart.
To become Kiwi Specialists, agents need to have attended a Tourism New Zealand training initiative in the last year or complete another module.
They also need to have travelled to New Zealand in the last three years.
What did you want to get out of the course?
I wanted to improve my knowledge of the destination. I knew the mainstream areas but wanted to learn about less visited ones.
Did the course format work for you?
It was all online and there was quite a lot of reading. There were also lots of sections where you had to go and look things up on websites, such as information about attractions.
The tests at the end of each module had quite detailed questions, such as asking about the opening hours of a museum.
What was the most useful part of the course?
There was quite a lot of emphasis on different itineraries that you could book. They weren’t always itineraries that we would book, such as tours of gardens, but it did really help build up knowledge.
What part of the course do you think could be improved?
They focused quite a lot on very precise travelling times between destinations, which I wasn’t sure was necessary. Apart from that I thought it was really good.
What did you think of the trainer?
I didn’t have any online support from a tutor, but I didn’t ask for any. I’m not sure if this is provided. I think if you fail one of the modules, you get an e-mail with feedback on what was wrong, so you can try again.
What was the most valuable piece of advice/information you learnt?
There was not one specific thing that stood out because the course was so wide ranging. Now, if someone mentions an unusual place I will think: ‘Yes, I know about that’.
How will the course change the way you sell the product?
I knew New Zealand quite well already and for this job I have to have a lot of specialist knowledge about that destination, so rather than change the way I do my job, it has supplemented it.
However, if I were an agent selling a whole range of destinations, it would be very useful.