Self-drive is Incredibly Popular in New Zealand

Steven Dixon, Regional Manager, South and South-East Asia, Tourism New Zealand speaks on the world class infrastructure facilities in the country and what to expect in 2017.

INDIA IS among top 10 source markets for New Zealand and we have identified it as key market for future. With 57,000 Indian arrivals, growing to 15% in May 2017, there has been a double digit growth to holiday in New Zealand,” says Dixon who was in Delhi to attend the annual travel trade event, Kiwi Link India, a platform for Indian travel agents, product managers and planners to interact with New Zealand operators and understand the new developments and market insights in the tourism sector.

As far as corporate travellers are concerned, New Zealand is tech savvy with all the technological advancements in terms of meeting spaces, facilities and gadgets. “You can mix business with leisure and have a meeting in the city, and within an hour’s drive, fly for a ferry ride or stand on the glacier, vineyard, or a lake. Get more out every place that you visit, and that’s how we bring smile at every mile,” says Dixon who believes self-drive is a popular trend to explore different experiences in 2017. “New Zealand is safe and a family-friendly country so self-drive will continue to be incredibly popular. Now more Indians travel to experience the wine and dine culture of New Zealand.”

In terms of special offers for Indians packs in a whole range of tours and is marketing a newly launched global campaign called “one journey leads to another”. “For India market, we have launched a 100% New Zealand specialist program that qualifies travel agents to become a specialist, and four lucky ones qualify a trip to New Zealand.”

With an average length of stay being 13 days, consequently, Indians who want to stay longer and explore more cannot do so as there’s so much to do in New Zealand. “This is the general feedback and out of the hundred and eighty thousand Indians living in New Zealand, there is ample choice of Indian food in any town. We have Indian restaurants with a variety of cuisines that Indians love to have during their travel. Hence, the choice of cuisines especially with Indians is no more a constraint for Indian travellers,” feels Dixon whose personal favourite is masala dosa and mango lassi.

An International Convention Centre in Auckland will open for business in 2019 to cater 3000 delegates, and another convention centre being built in Christchurch and with many new hotel brands like The Ritz-Carlton and county’s first Park Hyatt in Auckland the travellers can witness more development in the coming years. “We have about 3.6 million arrivals per year from around the world and that’s the most amount of tourists including business travellers as we are constantly reinvesting in services and infrastructure,” says Dixon.

Cox & Kings, SOTC, Thomas Cook and FCm Solutions are preferred travel companies that book group visas. While the government does not offer special incentives for large groups, it is the Meetings program by the tourism authority that specifically targets large conferences and association around the world.

Dixon highlighted a few noteworthy facts on how the Indian travel market has evolved in the recent years. “During demonetization, the trade activities slowed down but Indians love to holiday, and with outbound figures increasing every year, there are options galore - direct connectivity in terms of flights, more trade and tourism opportunities in future.”

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