The world in one country


It's the Land of the White Cloud and it's famous for the All Blacks, the Hakka, and...well...sheep. But New Zealand is more than just picturesque tranquility: a lot more.

TTN spoke to Sarah Meikle, manager, Emerging Markets, Tourism New Zealand about where the island nation stood amidst the current humdrum of the global tourism sector, and why it was that every year more and more tourists from the Gulf visit it.

"Tourism New Zealand has been active in the Middle East now for three years," she says.

"We work closely with a number of travel wholesalers and agents, including Emirates Holidays, DNATA and Sharaf Travels, who have all brochured package products of New Zealand. In addition our airline alliances particularly with Emirates Airlines has contributed significantly to the New Zealand message getting profiled."

Meikle said that currently arrivals from the Gulf were growing at an average of 20 per cent annually. And she expected the trend to continue.

New Zealand is targeting the Gulf family and the honeymooner. "Tourism New Zealand's key target market from the Gulf are the leisure travel market and specifically those seeking interactive family/honeymoon experiences," says Meikle, adding that New Zealand was fast becoming an intriguing destination for the "discerning traveler who is seeking a unique holiday experience".

New Zealand, which according to Meikle is often called "the world in one country", is the perfect holiday destination for people wanting total relaxation right through to someone wanting a high action, high adrenalin holiday. Currently visitors from the Gulf make up less than 1 per cent of the total arrivals to New Zealand. New Zealand's largest visitor source market is Australia.

But if life were like New Zealand's vistas, we would all be eternal. The fact that events like the Bali bombings can take place proves that just the opposite is true. "The Bali bombing was a tragic reminder that we live in a time of uncertainty. Travellers need to be vigilant and always aware of their personal and families' safety. The travel industry in New Zealand remains optimistic that travellers worldwide are adapting to the ever-changing travel environment. More people are travelling than ever before and arrival numbers to New Zealand continue to grow," says Meikle.

Tourism New Zealand is the New Zealand Government-funded agency charged with the task to promote New Zealand as an international visitor leisure destination.

"In this vein," says Meikle, "we work with wholesale and airline partners in the Middle East on promotions and packages. We are still largely focused on educating the travel trade about New Zealand as a visitor destination. This in itself is an immense task."

She says that the New Zealand Tourism department is currently working on a plan to step up our trade training efforts in the region in addition to its annual presence at Arabian Travel Market.