New Zealand

TIA appoints new chief executive

Thursday, 20 January 2022 17:04

Tourism Industry Aotearoa has appointed Rebecca Ingram as its new chief executive. 

Ingram joins TIA from seven years at Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) where she has held various roles including most recently as general manager of New Zealand and Government relations. Previously she was responsible for TNZ’s  PR and major events team, leading a global team across 14 markets.

Sudima remains positive

Tuesday, 14 December 2021 02:05

One of New Zealand’s leading hotel companies will be taking a cautious approach to next year while also being ready to take any opportunities that come its way.

Les Morgan, chief operating officer with Sudima Hotels, says the company’s expectation is that next year ‘will continue to be disruptive.

‘We think patience will be required in the hotel sector until 2023.’

'Q1 promise comes to nought'

Thursday, 25 November 2021 22:37

The New Zealand Government has reneged on a promise that it would reopen borders and reconnect to the world in the first quarter of 2022 on the condition that the country’s population was 90% fully vaccinated, says the chair of the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ).

Scott Mehrtens who is also managing director of Leisure Time Travel, says this week’s announcement around borders was really just a tinkering of the MIQ situation for returning New Zealanders.

Industry reacts to plans and dates for border re-opening

Wednesday, 24 November 2021 03:34

Travel Agents' Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) president Brent Thomas says that with surety around dates for non-quarantine travel in 2022 the trade has a definite light at the end of the tunnel. 'Agents need to start engaging with customers and start booking their travel arrangements now.'

Heritage Expeditions’ new flagship to operate out of New Zealand next year

Wednesday, 24 November 2021 03:31

Heritage Expeditions is confident its new flagship, Heritage Adventurer, will be sailing New Zealand waters late next year.

Heritage Expeditions commercial director and expedition leader, Aaron Russ has been in Europe this month checking on progress with the ship and is now back in Christchurch self isolating.

Leisurely & active for women

Wednesday, 24 November 2021 03:26

Tours that offer active (but not strenuous) walking or e-biking, in combination with seeing the sights of an area and taking part in leisurely activities like shopping or wine tasting are generating interest for next year.

Marie Coles, founder of Roam Travel Adventures, says the company offers travel for small groups of up to 12 (women only) and delves into rural New Zealand to connect with local characters. 

New Hauraki Gulf cruises

Tuesday, 23 November 2021 20:05

Tourism operator Explore Group is launching new expedition-style cruises on the Hauraki Gulf to meet demand for Kiwis holidaying closer to home this summer.

Despite the uncertainty created by Delta and alert level changes, William Goodfellow, Explore managing director, says the company sees an opportunity to grow tourism experiences in Auckland and on the Gulf.

Changing role of RTOs

Tuesday, 09 November 2021 03:11

A destination management lens, in consultation with all sectors and their communities, will be increasingly placed over everything regional tourism organisations (RTOs) do, says the retiring executive officer of Regional Tourism Organisations New Zealand (RTONZ).

Charlie Ives, who leaves the role on 24 December, says the trend was already evident in 2019 but has been accelerated by the advent of Covid.

Inbounders say clients ‘perplexed’ – time to set date for rejoining world

Tuesday, 09 November 2021 02:14

The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand says offshore wholesalers and agents continually question why NZ hasn’t announced a date for when international visitors can return.

‘They are perplexed. Visitors can now book travel to Australia (and most places around the world) and yet New Zealand remains closed,’ says TECNZ chief executive Lynda Keene.

Ruapehu's DM plan

Wednesday, 27 October 2021 20:11

Due to the Support, Recovery and Re-Set funding from government, Visit Ruapehu is now focusing on phase two of its destination management plan.

Community leader and strategic consultant Erena Mikaere will be working alongside the Visit Ruapehu team to develop the plan.

As owner of Waihuia Ventures Limited and previous CE of Ngāti Rangi, Mikaere is of Ngāti Whakaue and Tūhourangi descent and brings experience and skills to prioritising and progressing destination management for the region.

New source of steam sought

Tuesday, 26 October 2021 01:24

RealNZ is exploring alternative ways to generate steam to fuel the TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown as part of its commitment to conserving the national icon for future decades.

‘The TSS Earnslaw is the oldest coal-fired passenger-carrying steamship in the southern hemisphere. She’s a significant part of New Zealand’s history. But as responsible kaitiaki, we have to weigh up every inch of her heritage value with our ambition to protect and preserve the places where we operate,’  says RealNZ CEO Stephen England-Hall as the vessel has her 109th birthday.

Intrepid Travel acquires majority stake in Haka Tours

Friday, 15 October 2021 01:22

Intrepid Travel has secured a majority share in Haka Tours and ANZ Nature Tours. The two brands offer a range of tourism experiences for both the local and international markets.

The acquisition bolsters Intrepid's operational capability in New Zealand and allows it to leverage its global distribution capability to scale rapidly as local travel, as well as international tourism, recovers.

Hobbiton's 20th birthday

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 04:21

On 10 December 2001, the first instalment of Sir Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring first premiered on the world stage at Odeon Leicester Square in London. It was also the the debut of New Zealand as the fictional world of Middle-earth, and a sheep and beef farm just outside Matamata as Hobbiton, the home of the Hobbits.

To mark this milestone, Hobbiton Movie Set will celebrate with a special outdoor film screening where the adventure first began, on the grassy clearing of The Party Field, where Bilbo celebrated his eleventyfirst birthday.

Tourism a new NCEA subject

Monday, 04 October 2021 23:31

Confirmation of tourism as a new NCEA subject is a welcome development for tourism educators and the tourism industry, says AUT hospitality and tourism senior lecturer Megan Roberts.

‘Both sectors have been especially hard hit by the global pandemic,’ she says. ‘It is an acknowledgement of the contribution of tourism to the national economy and of a desire for communities across New Zealand to benefit from a renewed and regenerated tourism industry.’

Roberts says tourism education in Aotearoa has long suffered from a ‘disparity of esteem’; being predominantly categorised as vocational, the study of tourism has lacked credibility while often perceived as less rigorous compared to more traditional subjects.

Kiwis stay close to home

Monday, 04 October 2021 04:44

New data shows Aucklanders have all but given up on heading away for October and instead are booking out accommodation for Christmas and January. Bookings from Auckland are down 51% across the board for the same time last year.

Hardest hit from a lack of Auckland tourists are Queenstown with bookings down 35% with bookings in the Coromandel also down.

Inbounders: Visitors won’t come if quarantine required

Monday, 27 September 2021 21:43

The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) says it is clear from international feedback that vaccinated travellers will not come to this country if they have to spend time in MIQ.

Chief executive Lynda Keene says the organisation is regularly hearing of countries around the world reopening their borders to welcome back visitors with a range of settings. Common requirements include proof of full vaccination, use of a digital or paper passport to verify travel arrangements, PCR tests, rapid antigen tests, and adherence to contract tracing.

Local curiosity fits like glove

Friday, 24 September 2021 02:04

A tour operation which specialises in revealing hidden gems and stories around Auckland is resonating with trade, as well as the city’s locals and visitors.

‘We have had agents reach out to us since we launched,’ says White Glove Experiences founder and director Jacqui Wilkinson. ‘A number of them are trying to gain more traction in domestic and are looking ahead.’

Wilkinson says White Glove is focused on the domestic market, priced accordingly and running an ‘event-like’ programme rather than traditional tours.

Maher's new trade tools, 2022 tours

Monday, 20 September 2021 22:18

Maher Tours has enhanced its website and put together new tools to assist agents in selling its newly released programme for 2022.

Business manager Emily Newrick says the website has been refreshed and made more user friendly for agents. ‘They can now download all of the brochures directly but they are still able to fill in a request form if they need more. We’ve included a range of testimonials which can be used as well.’

Skalleague of the Year award

Friday, 17 September 2021 00:55

A New Zealand Skalleague of the Year Award is being launched to recognise a member who has made an exceptional contribution to the club in this country.

Nominations will be accepted from the five regional Skal Clubs (Auckland, Wellington, Te Tauihu, Christchurch and Queenstown).

PurePods for private packages

Thursday, 09 September 2021 23:15

New Zealand Traveller has released a package designed for people wanting to travel while having the opportunity to be in their own bubble as much as possible.

PurePods accommodate only two people, are private and set in secluded locations. The package includes a RAV4 rental car and the opportunity to explore the scenery and wildlife of Banks Peninsula, Waipara Wine region, North Canterbury and Kaikoura.

‘This is a regional immersion package staying at three PurePods away from the crowds, and  surrounded by nothing but nature, views and night skies,’ says Cherryl Browne, general manager Cruise World and New Zealand Traveller.

NZSidekick's summer incentive

Tuesday, 24 August 2021 22:53

From 1 September, agents who make a booking through NZSidekick will be in for the chance to win a five-day Queenstown vacation for themselves and a ‘plus one’.

This in addition to the regular Agent Rewards NZSidekick offers.

NZSidekick has teamed up with some of Queenstown’s leading tourism suppliers to create the incentive.

Rewards kick in for agents

Friday, 20 August 2021 01:58

NZSidekick reports a strong response from the trade to its Agent Rewards as the programme heads into its second year.

NZSidekick is an online wholesaling platform offering a range of comprehensive New Zealand travel packages. This is then paired with a team of New Zealand specialists dedicated to agents to assist them to curate itineraries for their clients.

‘We know it hasn’t been easy for agents over the past year and we wanted to find a way to lift spirits,’ account manager, Sabina Din says. 

Stewart Island packages, rooms reserved for agents

Friday, 20 August 2021 00:53

Inspired New Zealand Tours is expecting strong demand for Stewart Island to continue this summer and has just released four packages of various durations to the destination.

Director John Gregory says the company has also taken a number of steps to ensure its trade partners can take advantage of the island’s popularity.

Forecast on borders, visitors

Thursday, 19 August 2021 23:52

Tourism Export Council (TEC) NZ has presented its hopes for a time line in terms of border openings.

In one of her last acts a TECNZ chair, Anna Black reiterated the organisation’s desire to have its New Zealand International Recovery Plan considered as the New Zealand Government prepares its own Tourism Transformation Plan.

Agents, 'make use of the tools'

Thursday, 19 August 2021 23:12

New Zealand accommodation providers at the Tourism Export Council (TEC) NZ Conference recently urged agents to embrace on-line booking systems.

Mark Rose, chief executive officer of The Rees Hotel and Luxury Apartments in Queenstown, says the property will be offering the best commission level to those agents who go into the property’s system and take rooms seamlessly.

Affordable luxury in SI

Thursday, 19 August 2021 22:32

Luxury does not have to equal expensive when clients are considering a domestic get-away, says New Zealand 4 Discovery’s Francis Mortimer.

‘You can thank the border closures for highlighting the affordability of holidaying in NZ,’ Mortimer adds.

New Zealand 4 Discovery has just released two new products which he says redefine what luxury can cost.

Milford plan bold but concerning

Tuesday, 03 August 2021 23:03

The Milford Opportunities Project’s masterplan has innovative, bold and challenging ideas that could radically change the way we look after one of the jewels in New Zealand’s tourism crown, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says.

‘The Milford corridor from Te Anau to the Sound is a key tourism asset for New Zealand and as such demands special attention,’ TIA chief executive Chris Roberts says.

‘TIA supports the overall vision of the new masterplan. Many of the details will need to be closely examined and discussed, but the debate is necessary as the way Milford Sound Piopiotahi has been operating is not sustainable.’

New lodge in Ruapehu area

Tuesday, 27 July 2021 02:08

A new accommodation experience taking guests back to the Great Gatsby era in art deco style has opened in Owhango in the Ruapehu district.

Originally built in 1919, the Old Post Office Lodge can be used as a ‘base camp’ to explore the region and has six themed queen/double rooms, a four-bedded dorm room, two bathrooms and two well equipped dining and kitchen areas. Visitors can book out single rooms, separate wings (East or West) or the entire lodge, which can accommodate up to 18 guests.

Higher travel levy ‘will slow recovery’

Tuesday, 06 July 2021 01:27

A proposal to increase a levy by more than 200% for all air travellers crossing the New Zealand border will be another brake on the tourism industry’s recovery, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says.

The New Zealand Customs Service and the Ministry for Primary Industries are reviewing the border processing levy (BPL), which was introduced in 2016.

The levy is used to fund the customs and biosecurity services provided for all arriving and departing passengers, including New Zealanders.

Explore buys Fullers BOI

Monday, 05 July 2021 23:15

Explore Group has purchased Fullers Great Sights operation in the Bay of Islands as the first part of a wider expansion plan for the business including growth in Auckland and Australia.

Explore will take over Fullers Great Sights Bay of Islands on 31 July. This includes tour experiences such as the Cream Trip that takes in The Hole In the Rock and Urupukapuka Island.    

Leisure Time's new brochure

Tuesday, 15 June 2021 00:58

Leisure Time Travel has launched its latest travel brochure featuring the largest touring programme in the company’s 30 plus year history.

The new brochure covers the travel period 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2022 and features tours specifically designed for New Zealand travellers from short breaks to a wide range of special interest tours throughout both the North and South Islands. Leisure Time Travel also introduces some overseas escorted group tours in the new brochure – a way for senior travellers to restart their international travels when the time comes.

NZ golf courses need work

Wednesday, 09 June 2021 02:32

A multi-million dollar investment is needed to upgrade New Zealand’s ageing golf course infrastructure to attract more high net worth tourists – according to an industry expert.

According to latest industry figures, around 61,000 international visitors play golf in New Zealand annually – contributing over $425 million to the economy with over 80% of golf tourism spend on accommodation, dining, shopping, travel and other forms of entertainment. As a sector, golf employs 2000 Kiwis and is the most popular club-based sport for adults with 500,000 golfers.

Agents won’t ignore NZ again

Wednesday, 02 June 2021 04:13

Many of the travel agents who have embraced selling New Zealand tours and holidays throughout the Covid pandemic are saying they will never ignore the domestic market again, according to a leading tour operator.

Scott Mehrtens, managing director of Leisure Time Travel, says that while agents are tending to go back to the ‘default mode’ of selling offshore destinations as bubbles open they are still asking about new product and opportunities in their own country.

‘The proactive agents, the ones that got into it straight away, have been hugely successful. They won’t neglect New Zealand again – it’s a form of de-risk.’

AIM's Supercar packages

Wednesday, 02 June 2021 03:58

Supercars are heading to New Zealand from 6-7 November for Round 11 of the ITM Supercars Championship at Pukekohe Raceway.

AIM Holidays has a package with three nights accommodation and a two-day general admission plus paddock pass from $399 per person (quad share of two bedroom apartment on a room only basis).

From survival to growth

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 07:14

New Zealand’s tourism sector is looking beyond words like ‘hibernation’ and ‘survival’, if the general mood at this week’s TRENZ Hui in Christchurch is anything to go by.

Many in the industry say times are still challenging but growing business travel, including conferences, incentives and meetings, ongoing strength in the domestic leisure market and now the slow but promising start to trans Tasman travel are all coming together to have an effect on accommodation providers and other operators.

Hawke’s Bay's taste of FAWC

Monday, 19 April 2021 22:18

Hawke’s Bay’s Food and Wine Classic (FAWC) provides agents and tour operators a ‘ready made itinerary’ for clients keen to make the most of the region’s gastronomic fare. Tourism Hawkes Bay took a taste of FAWC to Auckland in April, highlighting the winter programme that takes place over four weekends in June and also previewing the 10th summer festival that stretches over 10 days in November.

‘This is the first time we’ve taken FAWC out of Hawke’s Bay,’ event manager Hilary Nyberg says of the degustation meal at Homeland Dining Room for travel trade, media and other tourism partners.

New face at Hospitality NZ

Tuesday, 13 April 2021 23:45

Hospitality New Zealand has appointed Sandi Reily as marketing, events and communications manager.

Reily comes from thirteen years in the leisure travel market across Australasia and the US where she has worked with tourism and hospitality stakeholders in New Zealand, Fiji and the Cook Islands. The last five years have seen her set up an office in the US, from where she has promoted New Zealand businesses.

Sudima sets sights on growth

Friday, 02 April 2021 00:54

New Zealand accommodation company Sudima Hotels is continuing with its growth plans, though chief operating officer Les Morgan says the sector should be under no illusion about the short to medium term challenges ahead.

The 194-room Sudima Auckland Hotel opened recently and held an open day for trade and corporate clients recently. Next on the horizon are hotels in Kaikoura and Queenstown – both set for pre-Christmas openings.

Small town stories

Thursday, 01 April 2021 23:05

The stories behind New Zealand’s small towns, with insights in into the history and communities of the area, add an extra dimension to many of Pacific Jane’s itineraries, says the company’s founder, Sarah-Jane Lee.

One tour being promoted to travel agents now is Burkes Pass, where the local cemetery has several claims to fame – jet boat inventor Sir William Hamilton is buried there for example.

Wendy Wu shows ‘hidden gold’

Thursday, 18 March 2021 01:56

Wendy Wu’s domestic New Zealand tour is underway now and the company is reminding agents that more such programmes are scheduled.

So far the current group has seen rare yellow-eyed penguins at Penguin Place, had a traditional Chinese dumpling lunch at the Dunedin Chinese Gardens, witessed over 150 blue penguins arrive back to the beach in the evening at the Royal Albatross Centre and cruised Doubtful Sound oi the Real Journeys Navigator. ‘The Hidden Gold of the South fully inclusive tour is allowing New Zealanders to experience many once in a lifetime activities within our own backyard,’ says managing director Paul Dymond.

TNZ urges trade to get behind domestic family campaign

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 22:17

Tourism New Zealand has announced the details of its next domestic campaign, ‘Families’.

The campaign’s ‘launch date is pending Covid alert levels, its currently scheduled for 1 March but subject to change. It will specifically highlight the many domestic activities and holidays families can undertake here
in New Zealand.

AIMing for NZ events

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 02:13

AIM Holidays continues to sell show and event packages, concentrating on those in New Zealand.

Reservations manager Jay Soysa says packages currently on sale include SOL3 MIO in Auckland on 11 March with one night accommodation and show ticket priced from $259 per person.

Agents advised to ‘add personality’ into domestic tours

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 02:09

Travel agents who build their own personality into a domestic tour and set themselves up as an escort are finding traction (and an added source of income), says John Gregory, director of Inspired New Zealand.

‘We’re encouraging agents to take their own groups, perhaps with them leading the tour or incorporating a popular staff member, or perhaps a local celebrity or well-known personality to lead the tour.’

Gregory says Inspired New Zealand can easily build a tour around the agent’s needs, and provide a free spot on the trip for the group leader.

Queenstown hibernation

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 01:43

Adventure Group Limited, operating as Canyon Explorers, has decided to hibernate normal operations from Monday 15 February.

Managing director Stefan Crawford said it had been ‘a tough but necessary call’ given the ongoing decline in visitors to Queenstown over the coming months and the uncertainty around a trans-Tasman bubble.

He says Canyon Explorers has been doing its best to navigate through its first domestic-only season, adjusting offers to encourage Kiwis to ‘Do Something New’.

SailFit offers opps for trade

Tuesday, 02 February 2021 20:45

Agents are being encouraged to take advantage of the consumer trend towards ‘wellness’, with new ‘at sea’ experiences being launched this month in Auckland.

SailFit is running two luxury wellness day retreats on the 82ft yacht Tawaki, departing 27 February and 27 March. The company is looking to build relationships with agents and brokers on a commissionable basis and is also offering private and corporate charters all year round.

Inbound sector hangs by a thread

Tuesday, 02 February 2021 20:37

The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) is urging the Government to help develop a recovery plan for the sector.

TECNZ chief executive Lynda Keene says inbound tour operators have had no income since the country’s borders were closed early last year and have been the most affected sector across the international tourism industry. ‘They are hanging by a thread. We cannot understate how serious the future of NZ’s international visitor economy is. Without financial support and targeted assistance in 2021, ITOs and visitor product and experiences will be forced to close.

Strong enquiry for Fiordland

Tuesday, 02 February 2021 20:02

New Zealand Traveller continues to see good enquiry for cruise packages in Fiordland, says general manager Cherryl Browne. ‘We now have three different cruise packages,’ Browne says. ‘Our new Cruise Fiordland, which is a four-night, five-day, Queenstown return trip, with departures to April 2021, and priced from $1799 per person.’

The package includes an overnight cruise on both Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound, five  days car hire, accommodation and other sightseeing inclusions in Te Anau and Queenstown. The overnight

TNZ: 2.3m Aussies likely in six months

Tuesday, 02 February 2021 20:00

Australians are ready to head to New Zealand in numbers that far exceed pre-Covid times once they are able to do so, according to figures released by Tourism New Zealand.

Obviously partly driven by limited choice, but also positive feelings towards this country’s handling of Covid-19, some 2.3 million Australians would be likely to head over the Tasman in the first six months of lifted restrictions, data suggests.

New apartment hotel for WLG

Tuesday, 02 February 2021 19:53

The new Sojourn Apartment Hotel, which has opened this month, provides a new level of service in the undersupplied Wellington Regional Hospital suburb of Newtown.

Wellington’s medical areas are experiencing an undersupply of quality accommodation to accommodate patients, families and healthcare professionals who travel long distances to get to the hospital.

Sojourn is positioned directly across the road from Wellington Regional Hospital and owner Mike Price understands the stress associated with hospital visits. He says his daughter spent a month in

Bay of Islands ‘Ted Tour’

Tuesday, 26 January 2021 22:42

Clients can join Sir Graham and Lady Raewyn Henry on a group tour in the Bay of Islands from 1 to 4 March 2021.

The group will stay at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel on the Russell waterfront, and have a number of group dinners and activities on the Fortis Events organised trip.

Sir Ted has a special affection for the Duke. ‘As a longstanding patron of the Duke, both Rae and I have a great fondness for this historic hotel and we are looking forward to sharing this slice of Kiwi

City breaks give agents opportunities

Tuesday, 26 January 2021 22:36

Travel agents and brokers are being encouraged to take advantage of a consumer promotion encouraging Kiwis to take a holiday in a New Zealand city.

Tourism New Zealand’s City Breaks campaign went live yesterday and the organisation has designed a ‘launch pack’ specifically for the travel trade.

The purpose of the pack is to provide clarity on the campaign and note how agents can leverage TNZ’s activities within their own business.

Overnight at Mt John

Tuesday, 26 January 2021 21:35

Viva Expeditions is reminding agents of opportunities around its exclusive two-day Mt John Observatory Overnight Experience. 

For the first time the University of Canterbury is opening the doors of Mt John Observatory to a limited number of people for an overnight stay.  Usually this type of experience is limited to astronomers and scientists.

New luxury golf retreats

Thursday, 17 December 2020 01:26

Hospitality personality Jane Reese has launched a golf mentoring company that also operates rookie golf retreats in Queenstown.

Kiss My Putt’s packages are aimed at small groups (limited to eight people) who want to get together for a few days and combine luxury with learning ‘how
to love golf’, Reese says.

‘Intention dates’ for border

Wednesday, 09 December 2020 01:21

If Australia reopens its border to long haul visitors in 2021 and New Zealand does not, this country will lose the window of attracting those international guests for another five years, the 250 strong audience at a tourism conference in Auckland heard last week.

Lynda Keene, chief executive officer of Tourism Export Council (TEC) NZ, says many international travellers have dual destination itineraries. ‘They generally might have 15 days in Australia