Tourism has played an integral role in forging the relationship between the two countries and is continuing to grow.
A record breaking 53,008 Malaysians visited New Zealand in the year ending January 2017, up 53.7 per cent from the previous year, making it the highest percentage increase in holiday arrivals from Asia to New Zealand. There has also been a 47 per cent increase in holiday stay days, indicating that visitors are spending more time in New Zealand.
The introduction of more flights between Malaysia and New Zealand in recent years has helped improve tourism between the two destinations.
“The increased air connectivity allows Malaysian travellers to be more flexible with their travel plans.
“Malaysians seek adventures and experiences which are not readily available on their doorstep, such as stargazing by Lake Tekapo and hot-air ballooning over the Canterbury Plains,” says Steven Dixon, Tourism New Zealand’s Regional Manager, South and South East Asia.
“Malaysian travellers also venture off the beaten track to areas such as Nelson and Hawke’s Bay, renowned for their food and unique local experiences.
“We continue to work closely with the Malaysian travel industry to ensure they are experts on travel to New Zealand and advocate for us as a top destination.”
In 2016 Tourism New Zealand collaborated with the Kiwi Muslim Directory and Federation of the Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) to release the Halal Food Guide.
The guide provides general tourism information and a list of restaurants and cafes that offer halal-certified, vegetarian, and vegan cuisine, removing a potential barrier to travel for Muslim travellers from countries like Malaysia.
The theme for this year’s anniversary celebration is ‘New Zealand – Malaysia: Discovering the New’.
“I have no doubt that tourism will continue to play an important role in the diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Malaysia in future,” says Steven.