New Zealand focuses on Asian quality over quantity

New Zealand focuses on Asian quality over quantity

Country targets high-value visitors and incentives

Country targets high-value visitors and incentives

Kevin Bowler
Kevin Bowler

New Zealand is focusing on expanding its share of the Asian outbound market, with a focus on attracting more high-value tourists.

Speaking to Travel Daily in Bangkok on Monday, Tourism New Zealand’s chief executive, Kevin Bowler, said that while the country would never be a mass market destination, it has the opportunity to boost tourism revenues by focusing on the premium end of the market and high-value sectors such as incentives.

“That’s definitely our purpose,” said Bowler, when asked if New Zealand is focused more on driving increased tourism revenues rather than arrival numbers. “That’s really what the game’s about.”

Bowler revealed that Tourism New Zealand’s activities in the region “are about how we can increase the value of that market, not the volume”.

“Our main goal is to increase the yield,” he said.

Mischa Mannix-Opie, Tourism New Zealand’s regional manager of South & Southeast Asia, agreed, and said that New Zealand had the advantage of being able to offer a unique proposition to Asian visitors.

“People are always looking for something different, and New Zealand has the advantage of being unique. We have the ability to deliver some extraordinary experiences for people that will be something they always remember.”

And according to Bowler and Ms Mannix-Opie, the incentive market offers considerable opportunities for the country, especially from Asian countries.

New Zealand aims to offer unique experiences for Asian visitors
New Zealand aims to offer unique experiences for Asian visitors

“Because New Zealand’s quite small and tourism is such a big part of our country, an incentive trip can be filled with a huge amount experiences. Unlike other countries where you go to one city, in New Zealand you can visit couple of regions and have a lot of activities within that programme,” said Ms Mannix-Opie, adding that incentive programmes in New Zealand offer “very good value for money”.

Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are key focus markets for New Zealand’s incentive trade. And while Tourism New Zealand admits that it might not be the first destination on the list for incentive planners, it feels it can become a strong option for regular incentive planners.

“We won’t get an incentive group that’s going long-haul for the first time… but we’ll attract groups that are looking for something new,” Ms Mannix-Opie said.

The incentive market can also help drive the FIT market, according to Tourism New Zealand, who said that visitors who have already done a group tour will then feel comfortable returning as independent travellers.

In addition to the incentive market, Tourism New Zealand is also targeting “very high value tourists”, with experiences including super yachts, private jets and helicopter tours. The tourism board has even employed a ‘premium manager’, based in Singapore, to help grow this segment.

“We think this is a great opportunity in places like Singapore, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong,” Ms Mannix-Opie said.

Visitor arrivals to New Zealand have increased 2.9% in the first nine months of 2013, to 2.67 million. But Asian arrivals have surged 10.9% during the same period. This includes a 16.4% rise in visitation from Thailand, a 7.1% increase from Indonesia and a 4.2 rise from Singapore.

Mark Elliott
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