Thousands of US travel agents become NZ specialists

Two thousand American travel agents, 17 US cities and 48 training sessions involving 40 New Zealand tourism operators’ sums up the recently completed “Best of New Zealand” roadshow.

New Zealand - pretty as a picture

Around 2,000 American travel agents took part in training events that targeted agents on the Eastern Seaboard and Texas. The training schooled the agents up on New Zealand as a holiday destination focusing on the vast range of things to see and do. 

Around 40 New Zealand companies from accommodation providers to skydive operators joined Tourism New Zealand to promote what the country has to offer.

 “This year we focused on cities beyond the west to further support the 30% and growing increase in flight capacity coming from the United States,” says Bjoern Spreitzer, General Manager Americas and Europe.

“We covered a huge amount of ground visiting 17 cities over a five month period and got an overwhelming positive response from those that took part.

“Training travel agents up on New Zealand has huge benefits, it means when someone walks into a travel agency thinking about a holiday an agent can put New Zealand into the mix and speak about our country with extensive knowledge. This can mean the difference between someone booking  a trip to New Zealand or going elsewhere.

“The training is extremely valuable and has a total potential New Zealand travel booking value exceeding $100m NZD.

“A range of New Zealand operators attended the events which helped give a really good overview of the varied regions and activities the country has on offer.”

Karly Bent, Northland Inc Trade Marketing Manager said “The events were a fantastic way to reintroduce our region to such an important international market. With the increase in arrivals from North America and their desire to travel to New Zealand’s regions it makes for an attractive market. The roadshow offered us the opportunity to connect with key agents and educate them on what’s on offer in our region and New Zealand as a whole and this will help shape our future trade strategy for the North American market.”

Ross Grundy, General Manager Sales for Intercity Group said “The events were extremely worthwhile, the East Coast now offers the New Zealand trade another level of potential new business and the enthusiasm and "thirst for knowledge" from the agents we met reminded me of the UK in the late 90's.”

Melodye Martinelli from Let's Travel Together in Texas says “The Tourism New Zealand show was so unique and different from the typical travel road shows.  The training was very personalised and agents could ask questions and think about how tours, activities or a hotel in New Zealand might be right for their respective clients. I was most impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of all the Tourism New Zealand staff and tourism operators.”

The first US roadshow took place last year and targeted Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.  The US is our third largest international arrival market and growing – with over 170,000 Americans holidaying in New Zealand year end September 2016.