The United States is New Zealand's third-largest international tourism market in terms of visitor arrivals, and it is a market where there are continued opportunities for growth in the long-term.
The appetite for international travel is really rebounding and New Zealand is out-performing the overall market at present.
Similar to other Western markets, there is a strong seasonal trend around US holiday visits, with almost half choosing to visit during New Zealand's summer months, December to March.
However, growth in the shoulder seasons around summer in November and April has also been occurring. The increase in US cruise visitors and the movement of many sailings into these months (out of peak season) is contributing to this. Other factors behind this are growth in younger US travellers (25-29 years) and strong performance from southern states that tend to contribute across winter (Texas +25% in 2014).
A growing number of Americans travel New Zealand by cruise ship and the US is New Zealand's second largest cruise market after Australia. There is strong potential for growth in this sector of the US market, particularly by increasing value by encouraging greater pre- or post-cruise touring. A large number of cruises either originate or disembark in Australia, contributing to the high dual destination component of US visitors.
The US is the world's largest long-haul market. There is a lot of dual destination travel out of the US, with almost three-quarters of holiday travellers visiting another country during their trip, making seven days a key time period for a holiday in New Zealand, although some stay for as many as 21 days. Australia is the preferred option for upwards of 60 per cent of travellers over the summer period with the Pacific Islands (Fiji, Tahiti and Cook Islands) more popular during other periods of the year.
Tourism New Zealand is working in the US to grow visitor numbers and value through increased marketing, public relations, and sector-specific activities including premium (including golf), business events (incentives and conventions) and special interests (fly-fishing, cycling, walking and hiking).
Of all our international visitors, travellers from the US are most satisfied with their New Zealand holidays, according to Tourism New Zealand's Visitor Experience Monitor research. During their visit, two-thirds of Americans travelled beyond New Zealand's main tourist centres to the regions.
One aspect of our work in the US is to tap into this positive word of mouth and encourage US visitors to recommend New Zealand to friends and family.