Trade focus for New Zealand

Zorbing in New Zealand

ALTHOUGH still a small number, more Middle Eastern tourists are travelling to New Zealand than ever in line with the country being perceived as a trendy holiday spot, according to an official.

“Visitor arrivals from the Middle East have increased 5.8 per cent for the year ending July 2006,” says Heather Mollins of Tourism New Zealand. Total Middle Eastern arrival figures this year were 17,075, with the UAE at 4,202 and Saudi Arabia at 2,760.
This year the tourist arrival figures for the year ending July to New Zealand was at 2.376 million, as compared to 2.398 million arrivals in all of 2005. The majority of New Zealand’s tourists come from Australia, followed by the UK and Europe, Asia, America and Japan, in order of visitor arrivals.
“We are expecting a steady increase in visitor numbers to New Zealand due to New Zealand being perceived as a ‘hot’ destination. It is becoming increasingly popular as a honeymoon destination and an alternative winter destination to European countries,” she told TTN. To that end the board is working closely with Emirates Airlines who operate three flights daily to Auckland and one flight per day to Christchurch.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain are the other regional source markets.
Tourism New Zealand is promoting the destination to the Middle Eastern travellers by increasing sales through trade training, says Mollins. “Tourism New Zealand’s travel trade website (traveltrade.newzealand. com) is an online resource for New Zealand travel sellers worldwide with information on events, interactive training games and online trade training. The Kiwi Specialist programme, the board’s online training scheme, is designed to increase travel sellers’ destination knowledge and ultimately increase their sales to New Zealand.”
Since its launch two years ago, there are now more than 8000 Kiwi Specialists worldwide.
New Zealand travel sellers organising their own families or private holidays in New Zealand can also apply on the website for the Explore New Zealand programme, discounted or FOC.
For 2007, Hollins says, “We have a programme of ongoing trade training and public relations.  We also operate a fam programme as we know that there is no better way to sell New Zealand than if you have been to see it for yourself!  We are also looking at the possibility of some new training initiatives and giving the New Zealand industry to come into the market more often.  We will of course be attending ATM and the Emirates Holiday World 2007.”

by Clark Kelly