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United States

Market overview

The United States is New Zealand's third-largest international tourism market.

Visitor numbers from the US on are on the rise due to increased air capacity and more direct airline routes.

We organise and participate in a number of offshore training and networking events with travel sellers each year which New Zealand regions and operators can take part in. Take a look at our event calendar for more information.

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Key insights 

  • Almost half of US holiday visitors choose to visit during New Zealand's summer months, December to March.
  • Travellers from the US are the most satisfied with their New Zealand holidays, according to our Visitor Experience Monitor research. During their visit, two-thirds of Americans travelled beyond New Zealand's main tourist centres to the regions.
  • Almost three-quarters of US holiday makers visit another country during their trip. US visitors stay around seven days on average, although some stay for as many as 21 days. Many US holiday makers also visit Australia and the Pacific Islands (Fiji, Tahiti and Cook Islands).

50% of US visitors to NZ are independent travellers.

  • According to our research, US holiday makers are looking for a destination where they can have fun, enjoy themselves, feel happy and relax.
  • Older travellers from the US 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.
  • 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 travel independently is increasingly prevalent with Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s) and airlines aggressively chasing direct business.

Marketing and trade activity

The aim of our marketing activity in the US is to show American travellers what there is to see and do in the less travelled regions of New Zealand and to promote the benefits of visiting in spring and autumn.

We are running a campaign with United Airlines and Air New Zealand targeting New Yorkers. Read more here. This is part of a larger national digital campaign promoting New Zealand in the US, with additional promotional activity in six major airports across America and material in United Airlines' in-flight magazines and guides.

We are putting together a series of online presentations about the New Zealand offering to North American based agents and sellers. The presentations will take place over 2017. Read more and find out how to be involved in the webinar series here

Airline activity 

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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).
  • 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 activity

American cruise 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.

More information

Exchange rates: www.xe.com

GDP growth: www.economist.com

For more information on the US economy view the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s US market guide.