More than 400 international travel agents to experience New Zealand first-hand

Tourism New Zealand has announced it will run two of its biggest-ever trade familiarisation and training events in May, with plans to host around 440 international travel agents.

The two overlapping events will span 10 days and involve agents from the UK, Europe, North America, Mexico and Australia. 

All 440 agents will take one of 24 familiarisations (famil) trips around the regions showcasing New Zealand's tourism offering, and will participate in a day-long training workshop on how to sell New Zealand. 

General Manager Marketing Communications Justin Watson says the itineraries include a wide spectrum of tourism product, and the travel agents will be escorted around the country via planes, helicopters, coaches, boats, motor-homes, trains and cars.

"The basic objective is to get as many agents to New Zealand as possible, to experience as much as they can and have an amazing time.

"The travel trade is an extremely valuable tool for engaging with potential visitors, and a well-informed agent is better equipped to promote and sell New Zealand.

"Tourism New Zealand has a role to support the retail sectors' push for destination New Zealand by providing the education and training needed.

"Bringing agents to New Zealand for a first-hand look at the product, and providing them with the tools they need to sell the country more confidently, has obvious pay-offs for us.

"It increases their destination and product knowledge which in turn serves to act as motivation for them. Agents will be more motivated and confident in promoting a product they know and have experienced for themselves."

Throughout the year, Tourism New Zealand runs regular smaller-scale agent famils in New Zealand, trade training workshops in off-shore markets and supports operator attendance at international trade shows.

"However, the act of bringing 440 agents to New Zealand is something different all together - an enormous logistical exercise only made possible because of the support we get from our partners and the industry," says Justin.

Western markets remain a key focus

Air New Zealand has partnered with Tourism New Zealand to bring 140 agents from the UK, Europe, North America and Mexico.

The agents arrive from May 10 and will spend around eight days in the country with all 140 agents ending their visit with a trip to Hobbiton and Waitomo.

Air New Zealand Regional GM Americas, UK & Europe, Chris Myers says "Partnering with Tourism New Zealand to bring agents here is a significant investment in promoting destination New Zealand and one we are delighted to make.

"Ensuring our trade partners are motivated and trained to sell destination New Zealand and Air New Zealand is really important and there is no better way to do this than inviting them to experience New Zealand for themselves.

"Over the coming summer season Air New Zealand has increased capacity from North America to New Zealand by 9.6 per cent and we continue to operate daily flights from London to Auckland.

"The mega-famil is a great initiative that will help stimulate demand for holidays in New Zealand."

Australian agents experience marketing campaign tours with Emirates

Some 300 travel agents from Australia will make the journey to New Zealand on May 15, thanks to sponsor Emirates.

"Australians holidaying in New Zealand represent a significant market for Emirates, and we are excited to promote the attractive range of highlights by offering 300 Aussie agents the chance to experience the beauty of both the North and South islands first-hand, as well as the convenience of Emirates' 28 flights across the Tasman each week," says Barry Brown, Emirates' Vice President Australasia.

"From our daily flights to Auckland from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, to the convenience of our daily Sydney-Christchurch service, Emirates offers more choice and flexibility for travel between our two countries than ever before.

"We offer all wide-body flights with two A380 and two Boeing 777 services, all offering three class cabins, complimentary inflight meals and entertainment.

"This trade tour will be the biggest of its type undertaken by Emirates and Tourism New Zealand, and couldn't happen without the ongoing support of the New Zealand travel and tourism industry. 

"We look forward to working closely together on this project and in the future to drive trans-Tasman tourism," Mr Brown concludes.

Tourism New Zealand is focusing the agents' famils and training on its three latest marketing campaigns for Australia, which are undertaken jointly with Regional Tourism Organisations.

Itineraries and training are focused on the product that has been marketed through the North Island self-drive and the Food and Wine campaigns that ran late in 2012, and the South Island Road Trip campaign, currently live in the Australian market.