New flights and funding to grow US and India markets

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler has welcomed the Government’s increased investment for tourism and its recognition of the tourism sector as a driver of economic growth.

In a pre-budget announcement today, the Prime Minister John Key confirmed an additional $8 million over four years for Tourism New Zealand to target visitor growth opportunities in the USA and Indian markets.

“The increased funding supports our work to secure growth opportunities these markets present to generate value for the industry now and into the future,” says Kevin.

Leveraging air connectivity to grow USA arrivals

Additional marketing activity will be seen immediately in the US with Tourism New Zealand’s investments to capitalise on newly announced air services – which are expected to result in a 30 per cent increase in seats between the United States and New Zealand.

American Airlines and United Airlines (in an alliance with Air New Zealand) will start direct services to New Zealand, alongside Air New Zealand’s existing services from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston which Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says is a prime opportunity to boost visitor numbers from the US even further.

It comes on top of visitor numbers already showing strong growth. Total arrivals from USA were up 11.8 per cent for the year ending March 2016.  From June, New Zealand will be even more accessible for the 15 million Americans that Tourism New Zealand research shows would seriously considering visiting New Zealand.

“Both United Airlines and American Airlines have extensive cross-America networks and strong sales and distribution channels in the US,” says Kevin.

“Their entry to the market also gives Tourism New Zealand additional marketing partnership opportunities as both airlines have large numbers of frequent fliers who will of course be able to convert their loyalty scheme rewards into travel to New Zealand.”

American Airlines, alongside its oneworld affiliate Qantas, will launch its new service on 23 June, with daily connections between Los Angeles and Auckland.

United Airlines, in a revenue sharing agreement with Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand, will launch its service between San Francisco and Auckland on 1 July. Under the deal, the airlines will work together to promote and sell both airlines’ services to New Zealand and the mainland United States.

The developments are expected to further leverage Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand’s longstanding marketing partnership, promoting travel to New Zealand, and further build on the boost experienced in December 2015 with the launch of Air New Zealand’s direct service between Auckland and Houston.

Increasing marketing activity to target India visitors

The extra funding will further support Tourism New Zealand’s capacity to grow the Indian visitor market which was identified in 2013 as holding significant potential for New Zealand.

“Indian visitors prefer to travel outside our peak seasons, directly supporting our objective to spread arrivals throughout the year and across more regions of New Zealand,” says Kevin.

“We know that having a well-informed travel trade is critical to converting interest into bookings, and the additional funding will help us up-weight the training of travel agents to support their ability to sell travel to New Zealand during the shoulder seasons.

“Alongside this we will extend our investment in aviation partnerships to maximise sales in the key May-June travel period for Indian visitors.

“We will also continue our successful opinion leader programmes to drive awareness and preference for New Zealand, building on the achievements with tourism ambassador Sidharth Malhotra and successful collaborations with New Zealand cricketers, such as Stephen Fleming.”

Indian arrivals to New Zealand have grown steadily since Tourism New Zealand increased its investment in the market three years ago, with total arrivals growing 13.8 per cent for the year ending March 2016.


Contact Trish Green, Senior Communications Advisor, Tourism New Zealand; Phone: +64 21 243 0386