250 travel agents to embark on a journey through Middle-earth

Tourism New Zealand, in partnership with Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia, is set to run its largest trade familiarisation and training event for 2014, with plans for 250 Australian travel agents to embark on a journey through Middle-earth.

Selected travel sellers from across Australia will be invited to experience New Zealand from 15-20 October 2014. The agents will come together in Auckland to participate in a day-long regional training workshop, and then journey through the country on one of 12 familiarisation itineraries.

Tourism New Zealand General Manager Australia Tony Saunders says the travel trade is critical to the success of New Zealand's tourism industry as it's one of the most effective channels to engage with potential holiday visitors.

"Providing agents with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge through regional training workshops and an action-packed itinerary will allow them to more confidently sell New Zealand.

"By partnering with Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia we're certain these 250 agents will be provided the trip of a lifetime and be even more inspired to promote our beautiful country," says Tony.

Air New Zealand General Manager Australia Leanne Geraghty says the trade plays a key role in raising awareness of destination New Zealand and the ease of trans-Tasman travel.

"Together with our alliance partner Virgin Australia we operate more than 400 flights each week providing customers with great frequency across the Tasman and onward connectivity to the 25 domestic New Zealand destinations that Air New Zealand operates. We look forward to welcoming these Australian travel agents to New Zealand," says Leanne.

Virgin Australia's General Manager of Global Sales, Shirley Field says, "The trans-Tasman market is a very important part of our growing network and we are thrilled to be partnering with Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand to showcase our product, the alliance and of course, New Zealand. We look forward to welcoming this influential audience on board soon."

Itineraries and training will focus on the products and regions that Tourism New Zealand showcases through its Australian marketing activity including Coach Touring, North and South Island Touring and Special Interest cycling.

Tony says, "Fully integrating trade into our marketing campaigns allows us to more effectively generate and convert consumer interest.

"Our Touring campaign promotes both 'self-drive' and 'coach touring' holidays, something that we know our Australian target audience responds well to. A number of itineraries will therefore showcase New Zealand's hidden gems, iconic attractions and the proximity of these experiences."

Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand will also use the familiarisation to New Zealand as a way to raise awareness of its 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist Programme and the Air New Zealand online training modules.

Contact Georgina Maguire, Communications Advisor, Tourism New Zealand
georgina.maguire@tnz.govt.nz | +64 21 478 659