A record 38 New Zealand operators made the trip to market for the two-day Kiwi Link event in Singapore, meeting over 300 delegates from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand over the course of the extended week-long event.
Tourism New Zealand's Acting Regional Manager South and South East Asia Nick Mudge says that the strong turnout was incredibly positive.
"We were extremely pleased to have such a strong turnout of New Zealand operators at this year's event, and reflects the importance that the industry is placing on the South East Asian markets.
"With Air New Zealand announcing their on sale date just days before the event, the timing was ideal for them to provide in depth updates to trade partners on their new products and flights commencing from Singapore in January 2015.
"On top of this, we had a strong attendance from our priority trade partners across the region.
As a result of overwhelming positive feedback from delegates, Tourism New Zealand will now hold Kiwi Link South East Asia annually in late September.
The Kiwi Link event in Singapore was specifically for 41 invited Product Managers from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand and provided valuable face-to-face networking and relationship building opportunities for operators.
Chief Executive of The Rees Hotel in Queenstown, Mark Rose, attended Kiwi Link for the first time.
"I cannot recommend it enough to all New Zealand tourism suppliers wanting to increase their exposure to this important market.
"Even though I have regularly presented in this region on my own, this opportunity to be part of a Tourism New Zealand led initiative opened up a number of doors that had previously been closed to me as an individual supplier."
Néill Sperath, Founder & Director of TIME Unlimited Tours, says that the value of going to market can't be underestimated.
"At TIME Unlimited Tours we recognise that we can't just rely on web bookings alone - we believe that going to market really shows commitment and earns buyers' trust.
"We recognise it's a long-term game, and plan to attend next year's Kiwi Link South East Asia too to keep building relationships with this highly interesting region. That said, we received a 10-person booking from Indonesia on the flight back to New Zealand, which is possibly the best endorsement of the event," says Néill.
Pre and post the Kiwi Link event, New Zealand operators attended frontline training events in Bangkok, Surabaya and Jakarta where they were face-to-face with over 260 travel agents to develop their knowledge of New Zealand and help them become 100% Pure New Zealand Specialists.
During the events, Tourism New Zealand also launched the SEA Regional Famil inviting 40 travel agents to register for a trip to New Zealand in March 2015 which helped to generate additional buzz and interest for becoming a 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist.
Kiwi Link is Tourism New Zealand's premier trade training event. A Tourism New Zealand organised and funded event, it is designed to provide an opportunity for both new and experienced tourism operators to develop relationships with key travel decision makers.