Tourism marketing initiatives with AAX refocused

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler said today that the decision by AAX to discontinue its Christchurch- Kuala Lumpur service at the end of May was "extremely disappointing" given the strong demand the service had from Malaysian travellers.

"By the end of April 2012, in just a year, Tourism New Zealand estimates the AAX service will have attracted some 24,000 extra visitors to Christchurch who will have spent over $60M in New Zealand while they were here.

"This is a great boost in visitor arrivals from Malaysia during what have been tough times for the industry in the South Island in particular.

"Christchurch International Airport has done a great job looking after the airline and by all accounts there is nothing that anyone could have done to alter the business decision taken by AAX.

"What the AAX service has demonstrated is there is un-tapped demand for New Zealand from Malaysia and its neighboring countries.

"Tourism New Zealand will continue to promote New Zealand in these markets alongside the travel trade and other airlines, including Malaysian Airlines, Jetstar and Singapore Airlines, providing convenient connections to New Zealand for potential visitors," he said.