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New Zealand holidays in the shoulder and off-peak seasons.

We are thrilled to see this working with a combined 13.1%

increase in spring 2016 and autumn 2017 arrivals against peak

summer growth of 8.3%. Our prioritisation of the shoulder

seasons continues with the new FY18-21 strategy.

A second key objective was to support the Government’s

tourism strategy in ensuring all regions benefit from tourism.

To support sustainable value growth we launched two new

regional dispersal programmes, focused on increasing visitation

to regions less visited. To this end we promoted the Wellington,

Tasman, Marlborough and Nelson regions to the Chinese market

culminating in the launch of the

Heart of the Long White Cloud’

video series featuring Chinese influencers alongside our own Al

Brown and Sir Richard Taylor. Over the year we received positive

feedback from key operators who reported an uplift in Chinese

visitors since the campaign began.

In January 2017, we launched a pilot campaign with partners

Air New Zealand, Facebook, Flight Centre and Northland Inc

promoting Northland exclusively to Victoria, Australia. Results

of the Northland pilot will become available later in the year

and will be used to inform our next stage of regional activity. The

three-month campaign followed on from the successful Sydney

outdoor marketing campaign in which everything from buses,

train stations and motorway overpasses were decked out with

our campaign imagery ahead of our annual North Island touring

campaign.

Australia ended the year on 6.2% total growth and a massive

9.7% growth in holiday arrivals. Total visitor spend from the

Australian market remained static year-on-year ($2.5 billion),

while the average visitor spend dropped 5% to $1900 per visitor.

Again we believe currency rates played a part in this.

Of notable significance has been the slow-down seen out of

China with holiday visitors to June 2017 down 2.3% on the

previous year and average visitor spend reduced 14% to $4100

per visit. Tourism New Zealand has worked hard to target the

higher-value Free and Independent Traveller (FIT) and at year

end the number of visitors travelling on General Visitor Visas

(GVV: independent, FIT travellers) exceeded those travelling on

Approved Destination Status Visas (ADS: tours and groups) for

the first time with a 58/42% split. In March, New Zealand was

named as Destination of the Year by Qyer, China’s major free

independent traveller online community with more than 80

million users.

It is too early to say if the recent drop in total Chinese visitor

numbers is a reaction to peak holiday season pricing or a more

sustained shift in market behaviour. Certainly it’s something we

monitor closely and we will manage the risk by seeking to grow

other markets.

Speaking of which, growth out of the USA was outstanding,

highlighting the influence of increased connectivity through air

capacity. There are now around 45 direct flights a week from

the US and this was a major contributor to the 31.2% increase

in holiday visitors in FY17. The new carriers with their strong

domestic networks have also unlocked new source markets in

the US, particularly on the East Coast and Texas. Total visitor

spend from the US market increased 8% to $1.162 billion in FY17,

however average visitor spend was down 13% (to $4000 per

Sara Orme

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