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New TNZ team for Latin America

Tourism New Zealand has begun 2014 with its sights set firmly on continuing the upward trend of visitor arrivals from existing core markets and the newly identified 'emerging markets' of India, Indonesia and Latin America.

The organisation ended 2013 on a high with arrivals' figures for the year ending November, up 5.3 per cent on the year before, and holiday arrivals up 9.2 per cent for the same period.

It recently opened its newest international office - this time in Sao Paulo, Brazil - with an ambitious target of doubling arrivals from Latin American within five years.

The establishment of the office completes Tourism New Zealand's recent growth, now with 14 offices in 12 countries around the world.

Tourism New Zealand's General Manager of Western Markets Gregg Anderson says although some may think of Brazil and Latin America as unusual targets for the tourism board - they would be wrong.

"Brazil currently supplies just under half of New Zealand's total Latin American arrivals and research has shown it offers the greatest potential as a base, when considered against Argentina, Chile and Mexico.  

"The economic performance of the region, in particular Brazil, has resulted in extremely positive growth in outbound travel.

"In recent times there have been increased efforts by other NZ Inc agencies to grow awareness of New Zealand, particularly around the education sector and the 2015 FIFA U-20 Football World Cup will further raise New Zealand's profile as a destination - provided we do our jobs well!"

Gregg says four new staff are on board in the region, ready to turn strategy into action.

"Karem Basulto has been appointed Country Manager and joins us from the Brazilian Luxury Travel Association. Prior to this she was with the Brazilian Tourism Board.

"Karem will lead a team of three responsible for trade relationships, Public Relations and Marketing Communications in Brazil, Chile and Argentina.  The team is rounded out by Amalina Andrade - Trade Executive, Bruna Haddad - Public Relations Executive and Terena Tamai - Marketing Communications Manager.

"Both Amalina and Bruna have lived and studied in New Zealand, with Amalina recently returning from completing a Masters in Tourism Management at Victoria University.  Bruna studied English in New Zealand and has previously worked as a newspaper journalist and for PR agencies in Brazil.

"Terena comes from a brand marketing background and joins us from Robert Bosch where she has been working in a LATAM Brand Management role." The focus on Latin America is part of the organisation's 'emerging markets' strategy, boosted by an additional $44.5 million in funding over four years handed down by Tourism Minister John Key in the May 2013 Budget.

The strategy is about targeting those countries that, despite the small volume of current arrivals, offer the greatest potential for future growth.

By spending now 'ahead of the arrivals curve', the organisation is seeking to stimulate demand while preparing the industry to be well placed to respond when preference for New Zealand turns into greater numbers of visitors.

Gregg says next steps for the organisation is to start building relationships with potential partners and building awareness of the product on offer. "What our research has told us is that on the whole, Latin Americans don't differentiate New Zealand over many other countries so there is a lot of work to do to establish our point of difference," he says.

Work is already underway with new Portuguese and Spanish translations of Tourism New Zealand's consumer website newzealand.com, and the commencement of advertising work in Brazil.

The recent New Zealand-Mexico football world cup qualifying matches provide a platform on which to start building preference for New Zealand.