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Market Trends

There has been strong growth from the North American market since January 2013, with arrival numbers significantly up on the back of a much improved economy and resurgent consumer confidence.


The Hobbit films have given New Zealand a big push, along with the cruise and premium sectors, and the long-term prospects are looking extremely positive.

There are many opportunities to get involved in the North American market. This includes the business events and premium sectors as well as general leisure. Tourism New Zealand organises and participates in a number of offshore training and networking events with travel sellers each year which New Zealand regions and operators can take part in. These are listed in Tourism New Zealand's event calendar


Key Indicators

Exchange Rate vs NZD:   USD1 = NZD1.383 (May 2015)
Expected GDP Growth:   +2.8% (2015 est.)

Data sources:
www.economist.com (GDP Growth)
www.xe.com (Exchange rates)

For more detailed information on the US economy, read the economic analysis in New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's US country brief.

Outbound Travel

Approximately half of all US visitors to New Zealand are fully independent travellers who plan and organise their own accommodation, transport, and itinerary. Purchasing land and air independently is increasingly prevalent with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and airlines aggressively chasing direct business. Traditional bricks and mortar travel agents still play a key role in selling accommodation, transport and activities.

According to Tourism New Zealand research, our target market in the US is looking for a holiday destination where they can have fun, enjoy themselves, feel happy and relax.

Older travellers in our target market have a greater desire for fun, learning and exploring, feeling safe and welcome, and broadening their minds.

By comparison, younger travellers have a stronger desire to feel good about themselves, feel excited, engage in personal challenges and get an adrenaline rush.

Airline Update

With over 45 direct (varies by summer/winter schedule) flights a week the US has more direct air links with New Zealand than any other long-haul market. Air New Zealand provides direct services from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston.  Air New Zealand also provides direct services into Vancouver Canada.

New direct services to New Zealand are available on United Airlines (from San Francisco) and American Airlines (from Los Angeles) from July 2016, with and approximate capacity increase of 29 per cent.

Hawaiian Airlines is offering three flights a week between Honolulu and Auckland.

Additional one stop services are available to New Zealand via the Pacific Islands (Air Fiji, Air New Zealand and Air Tahiti Nui) or Australia (Virgin, Delta, Qantas, United,).

Cruise Update

For the 2016 season American passengers are expected to increase both by total number and by proportion of visitors. Major US cruise lines that stop in New Zealand include Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises.