My first 100 days in market have helped me understand the huge growth opportunities that the South and South East Asia region holds for New Zealand.
Arrival figures over the last year have been encouraging with significant year-on-year growth in Singapore and Indonesia, with Malaysia seeing a staggering 44.5 per cent growth for the year ending May 2012.
While Malaysian arrivals grew for the year, the decline seen in May is a direct result of the recent withdrawal of Air Asia X. This shows the importance of strong air connections in our offshore markets. However, the Air Asia X service demonstrated that there is demand for New Zealand from Malaysia and its neighbouring countries- a demand that we will leverage via existing connections with Jetstar and Malaysian Airlines.
Maintaining strong relationships with airlines will continue to be a high priority in the coming year. These include Thai Airways, Singapore and Malaysia Airlines, Jetstar and Air New Zealand as these are key to our success in this market. We will also work to further develop our relationship with Garuda Airlines following its announcement earlier this year of its intention to launch a direct Jakarta to Auckland service in 2013.
Trade relationships will continue to play a significant role in our activity, and our focus will be to maintain and improve the existing relationships we have. The exception here is Indonesia where we are just starting to introduce New Zealand to the market, providing support and marketing tools to key trade and partners.
Engagement with trade will continue as we look to maintain our presence at industry events such as NATAS, MATTA, and running Kiwi Link among others. A large focus will also be placed on investing in training New Zealand trade and also encouraging our trade partners to be more active on newzealand.com.
Across all of our activity, a priority will be to improve the integration of campaign, public relations and trade messages to ensure that we maximise opportunities by delivering consistent and well aligned messages.
The recent South Island Road Trip campaign which ran in Singapore in May is a great example of the types of campaigns we will look to implement. This was run in partnership with Singapore Airlines, Christchurch International Airport, local tourism operators and trade and demonstrates the effectiveness of an incorporated campaign with consistent messaging.
Public relations will be a core part of our activity to maximise coverage and leverage our campaign work. A new public relations agency and internal resource will help achieve this.
Our campaigns will focus on key sectors which will vary across the region. Segments include families, premium, prime youth, honeymooners and expatriates.
Business events and incentives will also play a large role across the region. India, Malaysia and Thailand have been highlighted as focus markets in Tourism New Zealand's Business Events Strategy.
I look forward to keeping you updated with our activity throughout the year. For more information about the region you can also visit our South and South East Asia activity pages here.