Hosted by Tourism New Zealand, and held in Tokyo and Seoul across three days, the events were an opportunity for operators to tap into two important visitor markets with just two hour’s flight-time between them.
Hobbiton Tours Sales Manager, Henry Horne attended both Kiwi Link events this year because of the importance of the markets to the business.
“Both markets are valued by us as they provide a year-round flow of travellers to us amongst our peak season demand,” says Mr Horne.
The Kiwi Link events are designed in a way for New Zealand operators to not only promote their products, but also gain better insights into important visitor markets.
Tourism Holdings Limited’s Jackie Costello says she would strongly suggest other operators attend the events if they want to continue growth from these countries and better understand how the market works, because: “They are different to other markets.”
Real Journeys Sale Executive, Tamie Wexler says the Kiwi Link events are a valuable channel to better understand what the visitor markets are currently looking for.
“From the outside it appears we go to Kiwi Link to teach, but from the inside we’re actually there to learn,” says Ms Wexler.
She says the added value in selling a New Zealand tourism product comes from members of the industry joining together for the event.
“When we’re overseas New Zealand as a brand becomes extremely powerful when we all join forces with TNZ and present this beautiful country as a team,” says Ms Wexler.
Southern Discoveries’ International Sales Manager Asia, Cecil Potatau agrees.
“The relationships you make during these events are the biggest take-aways for me, as one of the key factors in working with these markets is building trust,” says Mr Potatau.
“The other is the cultural exchange and the learnings – understanding the culture can help with product development and the service you provide to different markets.”
Japan is New Zealand’s sixth-largest visitor market with more than 69,000 holiday arrivals each year.
Korea continues to be an important visitor market for New Zealand, with more than 67,000 visitors each year.
Buyers JTB World Vacations and STWorld say they are already looking forward to the next Japan Kiwi Link event, which is scheduled for March 2019.
“It was great for me to learn about new products and activities at workshop,” says STWorld’s Toshinari Yoneyama. “This is a fantastic event to keep our business relationship with New Zealand suppliers.”
Registrations for the 2019 Kiwi Link Japan will open in late 2018. You will be able to register by visiting: www.tourismnewzealand.com/events