Linh Le, group managing director of Asia DMC, was in Auckland last night specifically for the Soulful Viet Nam event. He says not only that country, but also the other Asian destinations his company works with, increasingly cater for people who want to increase their vitality and health while travelling. ‘People are looking to maximise the investment they are making in taking a break. This could take the form of booking a hotel with an all inclusive spa or travel with a company that will introduce them to an eastern diet.
'Business travellers are extending their stays (beyond their work commitments) and often having spouses and families join them. They are looking for new healthy, sustainable and cultural experiences.’ Le says one example is visiting a local silk weaving family just out of Bangkok, Thailand who introduced the craft to people like entrepreneur Jim Thompson – the result being large enterprises embracing the silk trade. The programme is known as Forgotten Weavers. Le says last night’s host destination, Vietnam is certainly seeing increased visitation and interest out of New Zealand – driven to a certain extent by Air New Zealand’s direct services. Asia DMC works with niche wholesalers in New Zealand, including Fathom Asia, Active Asia, and Our Asia.
Dinh Ngoc Duc, director for marketing with Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) says New Zealanders and Australians tend to stay longer and spend more than visitors from any other market. ‘New Zealanders respect our culture, they enjoy eco tourism experiences and they embrace the people and the various cuisines.’ This is the first time VNAT has visited New Zealand for a trade event and some 90 agents attended the function at Grand Millennium Auckland.