Working with the trade

Tourism New Zealand's familiarisation (famil) programme brings influential international senior managers, product managers and retail frontline agents to New Zealand every year. 

The programme matches quality New Zealand sellers with internationally trade ready New Zealand operators, giving them the opportunity to expose their tourism products to thousands of potential consumers from around the world.

What is a famil?

The reputations of international travel sellers ride on their customers' satisfaction with their holiday experiences, so it is common sense that travel sellers want to know that what they are selling will meet or exceed their clients' expectations. 

The best way for them to ensure this happens is to experience New Zealand and what it has to offer for themselves.

Tourism New Zealand famils focus on two key audiences:

  • Senior managers and product managers: the people that make the decisions and are influential on what destinations and experiences are promoted and sold through their distribution network.

  • Frontline retail agents: the people who have direct contact with potential travellers, usually front-of-house travel agents. This group has a direct influence on individual consumers' decisions about their holiday destinations and what they do when they are in New Zealand.

Who comes on a famil?

Most famils operate year round and travel sellers are brought down from all of New Zealand's offshore markets.

Travel sellers are carefully selected, starting with recommendations from Tourism New Zealand's international offices. Criteria include being a well-established New Zealand seller and promoting the type of travel and experiences that offer New Zealand the most potential in that particular market.

Image credit: Lake Wanaka Tourism

Suggestions are then sent to Tourism New Zealand’s trade team based in Wellington where they liaise with the international offices and confirm the itinerary and regional selections. The regional tourism organisations (RTOs) then coordinate with the Wellington trade team who will in turn suggest relevant internationally trade ready experiences that match the type of travel sellers visiting on the famil.

The aim of any famil is to show travel sellers regions of the country that they may be unfamiliar with, along with showcasing new trade ready products that can add to travel sellers' New Zealand product offerings.

Keen to get involved?

Trade famils will only include product that is commissionable and internationally trade ready. This is very different from an International Media Programme (IMP) famil where media are seeking a particular story angle. For trade famils, the product managers attending must be able to buy the product and the frontline agents attending must be able to sell it and make a commission.

Image credit: Lake Wanaka Tourism

When considering regions and product for inclusion on a famil, Tourism New Zealand will review which operators have been in market recently supporting Tourism New Zealand and other events, as well as operators who already have existing relationships with the travel partner. As you can imagine, if a product manager has met an operator at a Kiwi Link, they will be very keen to experience that particular product when they come to New Zealand on famil.

Often a famil will be specifically focussed on or linked with a particular campaign that is being run in market. If this is the case, products and regions that are part of the marketing activity will be incorporated into the famil wherever possible.

Tourism New Zealand also adapts famils according to the specifications and target segments of their market (eg: if a famil is from a market that traditionally likes soft adventure, then the itinerary will reflect this).


  • Make sure your product is internationally trade ready
    To take part in Tourism New Zealand’s famil programme, your product must be commissionable and ideally already being sold through international wholesalers or retailers.

  • Stay in touch with your RTO
    RTOs have significant input into famil itineraries and recommending products for inclusion. Operators interested in participating in famils should contact their local RTO.

  • Get involved with Explore
    You can enrol your tourism product in the Explore New Zealand programme. This is a discounted travel programme for overseas-based trade or media visiting New Zealand on an independent trip. As a tourism operator, you can register your business and offer discounted or free-of-charge products and services, which the accredited person can use while in New Zealand. Check it out here

  • Keep an eye on what's coming up
    If your product is internationally trade ready, keep an eye on the events calendar, which gives advanced listings of all familiarisation trips. Get in touch with your RTO if you are interested in participating in a famil from a particular market or sector.