New Zealand Tourism and Air New Zealand teamed up to host a trade event that gave travel agents a taste of the destination at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia in Vancouver last night.
The event officially kicked off the ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ road show, which moves on to Los Angeles, Toronto, Philadelphia and New York next week.
A dozen kiwi tour operators and suppliers were on hand during the trade show to showcases their products, which ranged from boutique hotels to sightseeing attractions, day tours and cruises.
“It’s really recognizing the importance of North America as a region, and Canada has been growing for the past 12 months,” Gregg Anderson, general manager, Americas & Europe, New Zealand Tourism told PAXnewsWest.
Anderson said Canadian visitor numbers have grown four per cent, and New Zealand Tourism is confident that the numbers will continue to grow.
“We’ll probably see Canadian visitor arrivals back over the 50,000 mark over the next six to 12 months, which will be a record for the market- we got to 50,000 previously when Air New Zealand came on the route,” Anderson said.
Air New Zealand currently operates direct overnight flights from Vancouver to Auckland five times per week year-round and six times per week during peak season.
Other factors driving the growth in tourism from the Americas to New Zealand include the Hollywood movie, ‘the Hobbit”, which was so popular that Anderson said one in five visitors to New Zealand say the movie influenced their decision to visit.
The ‘Hobbiton’ movie set site is located in Matamata, approximately one hour south of Auckland.
In line with the tagline ‘100% Pure New Zealand’, suppliers were also showcasing the indigenous Maori culture of New Zealand, which Anderson said is also a big tourism driver.
“It’s a huge part of the New Zealand story- 60 per cent of our population are Maori by birth, and it’s an official language, and the words and colloquials are used every day as part of New Zealand society,” Anderson said.
Anderson emphasized that Maori words, such as ‘Nau Mai Haere Mai’, which means ‘welcome’, are used to convey greetings in the country, and that preserving and showcasing the authenticity of Maori culture is a huge underpinning of the ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ campaign.
To familiarize travel agents with the range of tourism products available, New Zealand Tourism has launched a refreshed travel trade website that contains travel industry news, tourism events, online training modules, maps and marketing tools.
For more information, go to traveltrade.newzealand.com.
Photo: Douglas Seifert, sales manager, Canada, Air New Zealand, Gregg Anderson, general manager, Americas & Europe, New Zealand Tourism, Carolyn Pope, trade development executive, Tourism New Zealand & Chris Allison, manager, sales & market development, Canada, Air New Zealand