With the first edition of Le French Festival to be held in Auckland on Saturday, New Zealand’s travel industry is already being urged to get behind next year’s celebration of all things France. The brainchild of Edouard Le Goff, co-managing director of Le Chef in Vulcan Lane, Auckland; Le French Festival involves a market during the day on 26 August and a sold out dinner for 500 that night.
A new brand of mid to upper standard hotels across New Zealand and more upmarket tours are in the pipeline for Haka Tours – known for hosting international visitors in this country but also educational tours around the globe.
Haka Tours founder Ryan Sanders says the first Haka Hotel will be a four star, minimum service ‘trendy hotel’ opening in Day Street, Auckland behind one of the company’s lodges (on Karangahape Rd) in the next three
Two Queenstown businesses have joined forces with their local high school to oer a student a scholarship to kickstart their global tourism career. AccorHotels’ four Queenstown hotels have partnered with the Queenstown Resort College to award one Wakatipu High School student with a scholarship covering fifty percent of tuition fees for a Diploma in Hospitality Management.
The inbound and domestic travel trade is growing more aware of how lucrative special interest groups and personalisation can be, according to a niche operator who works across both the leisure and business events sector in New Zealand. Jacqui Wilkinson, director sales and marketing Fine Art Tours NZ, says personalisation is key to certain segments.
Twenty-four leading tourism operators and stakeholders have been announced today as finalists in the 2017 New Zealand Tourism Awards. The finalists span the country from Queenstown to Waitangi and include long-established operators as well as new businesses. Accommodation providers, activity and transport operators, educators and researchers are among the finalists. The Awards are closely aligned with the industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework, which aims to grow total annual tourism revenue to $41 billion.The winners will be announced at a black-tie dinner in Christchurch on Thursday 7 September.
Medical travel is on the increase and is a growing opportunity for New Zealand travel agents, says one of the well-known operators in that field.
Paul McGowan, director of medical tourism facilitator Stunning Makeovers Limited, says that in the last 12 months the company has seen a 10% increase in clients travelling to Thailand for surgery and dental treatment.
‘Growth from Australasia has been driven by an increase in social media and mainstream media coverage.
One of the biggest chunks of commercial real estate located on the fringe of Dunedin’s central business district – and adjacent to the city’s education hub – has been placed on the market for sale. The huge 7913 square metre site encompasses five separate adjoining titles between Anzac Avenue and Harrow Street.
Great Barrier Island, 100 kilometres north-east of central Auckland, is the first island in the world to be designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary in a bid to protect its night skies for present and future generations.
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) established the International Dark Sky Places conservation programme in 2001 to recognise ‘excellent stewardship of the night sky’.
Designations are based on scientifically measured darkness of sky as well as stringent outdoor lighting standards and innovative community outreach.
With Auckland expecting 34,000 visitors for the upcoming All Blacks vs The British & Irish Lions Test matches, Alexandra Park is reporting solid bookings from fans as an official pop-up camper van site during the two Tests at Eden Park on 24 June and 8 July.
Alexandra Park sales and marketing manager, Joel Reichardt, says the venue is working with Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) to help the region cope with the influx of visiting British and Irish
International visitors spend more on food and beverage in Wellington than anywhere else in the country and that figure could increase even more, with plans to send the city’s winter food festival onto the international stage.
At the launch of the Visa Wellington on a Plate (VWOAP) programme, Wellington Culinary Events Trust Board chair, Fran Wilde, said the annual festival has grown as much as it can grow in its present form.
‘You are going to see an incremental change to get international tourists come here in August.
As hotel price gouging during next month’s Lions Tour seems set to be the next weapon in the bed-levy stoush, sporting great Martin Snedden calls for trade and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff to get back to the drawing board.
‘As hard as it is, the best approach for all concerned would be to swallow pride, take the current proposal off the table, and go back to step one – proper consultation,’ he says.
Snedden, director of both the New Zealand Cricket and Auckland World Masters Games 2017, waded into the debate this week saying hotels have played right into Goff’s hands by price gouging during the Masters Games.
While visitors from Australia, China and America are united in wanting to travel to New Zealand, the reasons for doing so are diversified.
That was apparent during a 2017 Tourism Panel that put the microscope on the needs of these markets and their travellers.
Mario Santander, the country manager of New Zealand for American Airlines, says visitors from the US are on the hunt for golfing experiences and high-end resorts: ‘They want to spend the money to take a helicopter to Waiheke to experience the wineries.’
Wyndham Hotel Group yesterday signed its second hotel in Queenstown, helping to plug a shortage of accommodation in the city.
Construction is under way on Wyndham Garden Remarkables, which is slated to open in May next year.
It will be the second Wyndham Garden destination in New Zealand, and Wyndham Hotel Group’s tenth hotel in the country.
Wyndham Hotel Group will introduce a new brand, Ramada ENCORE, to New Zealand.
The soon-to-be Ramada ENCORE Christchurch Colombo Street is being developed under a franchise agreement with Lepdon Holdings and is slated to be completed in late 2017. Once finished, it will bring Wyndham’s portfolio in New Zealand to nine hotels
After a seven-month closure and multi-million dollar refurbishment, the former Mercure Wellington officially rebranded yesterday as the Grand Mercure Wellington.
General manager Leigh Frame says guests and the local industry have been impressed with the transformation.
‘The best response we get is from those who knew the hotel before and see that the change has been quite outstanding.’
Tourism and property company Skyline Enterprises has appointed international business leader Geoff McDonald as the company’s new chief executive.
Rotorua-born and raised McDonald is most recently the former vice president and general manager of global healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Australia.
McDonald has spent the past 20 years working in commercial roles across Australia, China, Singapore, South East Asia and the wider Asia-Pacific region.
Tourism Export Council NZ (TECNZ) chief executive Lesley Immink has resigned her position after six years of leading the organisation.
Tourism Export Council NZ (TECNZ) Chairman Martin Horgan confirmed Immink will leave the organisation in July.
Agents attending the Marriott Global Sales Mission next month can expect to see a strong line up of hotels from Asia as well as some familiar faces from Australia and the Pacific.
Marieke Mendez, director global sales New Zealand says Marriott Hotels Japan will be among the visitors, as well as two hotels from Vietnam, three from Bali, four from China/Hong Kong/Macao and one from each of Singapore and South Korea.
Marriott Hotels Peru will also add some global depth to the event.
Latest data from Statistics New Zealand shows Northland is leading the country in commercial guest night growth and that annual guest nights in the region are fast approaching the two million mark.
In February Northland’s commercial guest night numbers grew 10.5% with an additional 21,000 nights compared to the same month in 2016. This brings the number of commercial guest nights for Northland to 1.905 million a year. Guest nights across the
A new take on cycling a rail trail is gaining traction in the Central North Island.
Forgotten World Adventures has modified golf carts to travel along the Stratford to Okahukura railway line, offering the magic of a rail experience from the perspective of a railcart.
After establishing a solid domestic market since opening for business in 2012, Forgotten World Adventures now has its sights on increasing its international visitors.
The last ship of the 2016-17 cruise season set sail out of the Bay of Islands yesterday.
Oceania’s Sirena was the last of 41 ships from 22 cruise lines to visit New Zealand this season, Cruise New Zealand executive officer Kevin O’Sullivan says.
A world first extreme adventure activity, operators taking visitors off the beaten track and an upscale hotel returning to Christchurch are among the new tourism products that will be on show at TRENZ 2017.
TRENZ, the $35 billion New Zealand tourism industry trade show, will run from 9 to 12 May, and will be attended by 370 international trade and tourism buyers and 300 Kiwi tourism operators.
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, Visit Ruapehu and Destination Great Lake Taupo have dipped their collective toes into the Australian self-drive market.
‘We’re suggesting our Tasman neighbours pick up a car in Auckland, visit the iconic sights such as Hobbiton and Waitomo during the weekend, and then come and ski Ruapehu mid-week,’ explains Michelle Caldwell, marketing representative for Ruapehu Alpine Lifts.
With the collective tourism growth across the Central North Island gathering momentum it was not surprising to see nearly 200 inbound operators brave the rain to attend the eXplore trade show at Eden Park in Auckland yesterday.
Vanessa Payne, eXplore Central North Island marketing coordinator says the growth is in line with Tourism New Zealand’s increased weight on the regions and seasonal spread. ‘The regions offer significant alternatives in pressure times.’
‘We’ve seen the growth accelerate over the last 12 to 16 month,’ says Jason Dawson CEO of Hamilton & Waikato Tourism. ‘Hamilton’s annual $1.394m visitor spend has put us in fifth place nationally behind Auckland, Queenstown, Christchurch and Wellington.
The ‘pancake rocks’ at Punakaiki and the glaciers at Fox and Franz Josef are well known drawcards to the West Coast, but the region is now looking at ‘adding to its magnets’.Jim Little, chief executive Tourism West Coast, says promoting and developing new product on the coast is essential in terms of dispersal and adding more reasons for people to visit and stay longer.
‘For example, we’ve got the Oparara Arches at Karamea. Visitors can access these now and take a guided walk to see moa bones – probably the only moa bones that can be easily seen outside a museum. We are looking
The permanent opening of State Highway 1 and the redevelopment of Kaikoura Marina are expected to get the region fully back and running by the summer.
However, Glenn Ormsby, general manager of Destination Kaikoura, was reiterating at this week’s Regional Tourism Offices of New Zealand (RTONZ) workshop for inbound operators that the district is already open for business.
Tourism operators are joining a call for the government to stop talking and start managing (and funding) our tourism resources.
Last week, seasoned tourism consultant Dave Bamford blogged that an overarching sustainable tourism action plan was urgently needed.
‘Three months on from the release of the much awaited McKinsey Report the big questions remain unanswered.
Auckland Airport and Tainui Group Holdings will develop a new five-star hotel adjacent to Auckland Airport’s international terminal and the existing four-star Novotel hotel. The 250-room hotel will be operated by AccorHotels as a Pullman. The hotel is scheduled to open by late 2019.
While the additional hotel development has long been a feature of Auckland Airport’s ‘airport of the future’ vision, Mark Thomson, Auckland Airport’s general manager - property, says the timing has been influenced by
New Zealand was just 61 visitors away from reaching the milestone of 3.5 million international visitors for 2016.
‘Our challenge now is to maintain the growth trajectory in a sustainable way,’ Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.
There were 3,499,939 short-term arrivals for 2016, up 12% or an additional 368,000 visitors on the previous year. This was the biggest ever increase in international visitors for a single year.
A plan to transform the Taupō District into New Zealand’s premier ski destination has gained support from Taupo District Council who yesterday approved $100k of funding for the next two years to help bring the dream to reality.
In a presentation from Ruapehu Alpine Lifts chief executive Ross Copland, councillors heard the company’s $100 million dollar plans to put Mt Ruapehu on the world stage as the country’s ski region of choice.
‘Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields had significant points of difference to the ski offerings of the South Island and it was time they were capitalised on,’ he says.
The general manager of Destination Marlborough, Tracy Johnston, has announced her resignation.
No firm date has been given for her departure and Johnston will work through the transition phase once a replacement is announced.
Johnston has been in the role of general manager for almost eight years and has driven a programme of growth in visitor activity endorsed by local stakeholders, with the full support of the New Zealand tourism and travel sector.
Marlborough Mayor John Leggett says Destination Marlborough has played a pivotal role in helping the region reap strong economic rewards from tourism.
A proposed new visitor levy for Auckland has been slammed by Tourism Industry Aotearoa.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff’s proposed targeted rate on accommodation providers is forecast to capture $20 to $30 million a year.
‘It is inequitable to target commercial accommodation providers when the benefits of tourism are spread throughout Auckland’s economy,’ TIA chief executive Chris Roberts says. ‘And it is wrong of the mayor to suggest that visitors are not already paying their way.’
Tourism spend in the last year in Auckland was $7.37 billion, an increase of $1.519 billion or 26% in the past two years. Domestic spend was $3.414 billion (up 12.5% in the last two years), and international spend was $3.956 billion (up 41%).
Let’s not forget roads and water – and community resistance. As the spotlight focused on assessing infrastructure needs urgently needed to cope with New Zealand’s booming tourism industry, the country’s local government head warned that the two most essential issues had been left off a priority list.
At the Tourism Industry Association (TIA) Summit, in Wellington on Wednesday, more than 250 industry leaders were updated on a National Tourism Infrastructure Assessment, aimed to identify what’s needed to support rising visitor numbers.
Wellington Airport’s new $58 million terminal extension was opened by Prime Minister John Key this week.
The main terminal building and apron has been extended by an additional 6000sq m – the equivalent of 12 basketball courts – and includes more parking spaces for aircraft, improved passenger facilities, a centralised screening point and easier movement for travellers throughout the terminal.
‘The extension can now cater for up to 1500 passengers we see during the busy hour each day,’ says Wellington Airport CEO Steve Sanderson.
‘Passenger numbers are up by 5.6% with a record five million domestic passengers travelling through the airport in the past 12 months.
Stable and low air fuel prices, a booming inbound market and a strong New Zealand economy all augur well for the future of Air New Zealand, an Auckland SKAL lunch heard yesterday.
Richard Thomson, general manager of networks at Air New Zealand, was guest speaker at the lunch at Parnell Rose Gardens and noted that the only ‘blot’ on the horizon was tourism infrastructure in this country.
‘If I was to worry about anything it would be about the New Zealand tourism industry’s ability to cope – especially over the next high season,’ Thomson says.
He points out that a considerable percentage of high yield passengers tend to book later in the year.
While infrastructure investment was being welcomed at the inaugural New Zealand Tourism Investment Summit in Auckland this week, Tourism New Zealand revealed it is also hoping the Chinese may help alleviate another pressing issue – dispersal of visitors.
Tourism New Zealand director of trade, PR and major events Rene de Monchy told delegates the agency is working with trade in China to encourage Chinese tourists to travel beyond the main hotspots of Auckland, Rotorua and Queenstown to the top of the South Island and Wellington.
The pilot campaign, which is still in development, will also see Tourism New Zealand work with regional tourism organisations and operators to provide the experiences Chinese tourists want.
Rene de Monchy also said Tourism New Zealand’s campaign featuring filmmaker James Cameron is being well received in China.
New Zealand’s biosecurity border levy tax, introduced earlier this year, was an influencing factor in a leading cruise line not increasing capacity to the country this year.
Stuart Allison, vice president Australia & New Zealand Princess Cruises, says New Zealand is one of the most expensive places to cruise to.
‘We love it and our guests love it, but next year we are increasing capacity to the Pacific Islands and not to New Zealand. The border levy has an influence in that.’
Speaking during the World’s Leading Cruise Lines Summit aboard Carnival Spirit over weekend, Allison and other cruise leaders reiterated the difficulty of passing on such fees and levies to customers – especially when a tax is introduced without consultation and time to plan.
New Zealand needs a clear vision and a long-term strategy for management of freshwater that reflects the values of Kiwis, says tourism industry leaders. And they say the importance of quality freshwater to the tourism industry is often overlooked.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts says clean freshwater is vital to the growth and sustainability of New Zealand’s $30 billion tourism industry.
‘Healthy freshwater ecosystems are fundamental to supporting the natural landscapes that are the primary reason visitors travel to New Zealand. They are also integral to many tourism activities such as rafting, jetboating, swimming and fishing.
Lesley Immink, chief executive of the Tourism Export Council NZ (TEC), says a national freshwater policy statement that only aspires to ’wadeable’ water equates to a marketing disaster for New Zealand.
The return of cruise ships to Lyttelton is an objective of Cruise New Zealand, the organisation heard at its annual general meeting last night.
Kevin O’Sullivan, chairman Cruise New Zealand says one measurement of success for the organisation will be to get the ships back in there by 2025, but it should actually be quicker. ‘That’s nine years away and really we could perhaps see it happen in three (years) but we are being conservative.’
He says that the organisation is continuing to lobby for Lyttelton to improve its capacity for cruise ships. ‘Although Akaroa has worked well it is important that berths are ready in Lyttelton in the next few years for larger cruise ships. Otherwise Canterbury will not gain the significant benefits from increased passenger numbers that could be available.’
In his chairman’s report. O’Sullivan also highlighted that Cruise New Zealand has been invited by Auckland City Council to participate in a study on the future of Auckland’s port. ‘Although the long term thrust from this study is to re-locate the port elsewhere, each option evaluated (in the study) recommended that cruise ships remain
The infrastructure challenges facing the cruise sector in New Zealand extend well beyond the country’s harbours, according to the new chair of Cruse New Zealand Debbie Summers.
She says that while there is a real need to improve port facilities and access, issues such as lack of high-season accommodation in Auckland and Queenstown also have an impact.
‘The ships are getting bigger all the time and that trend will continue. We need to look at issues like dredging to ensure they can use out ports.
‘But a lot of cruise activity is beyond the port of call and sometimes people don’t realise the importance of that.’
Summers, who is executive director of ID New Zealand, says the company operates overland tours for passengers from Milford, who travel to Queenstown, stay overnight and head to Dunedin to pick up the ship. ‘That represents a double spend. The numbers are capped at 200 by DOC at present but we are looking at growing those.’ She says passengers also do pre and post tours out of Auckand, plus overlanders between Auckland and Wellington.
A respected nature tourism consultant, and former national park ranger, has called for more strategic thinking at senior government level to manage the projected growth in tourism.
‘We need more analytical and strategic thinking, from both MBIE and the Department of Conservation (DOC), about the future management of our special conservation areas,’ David Bamford says. Bamford says that attending the TRENZ in May, where the focus had all about tourism growth, has made him concerned as to how that growth in our national parks and other special places can possibly be managed. ‘After years of backing the right to freely access our public conservation land I’ve changed my mind, It’s time to look at new solutions to fund our conservation estate,’ he wrote in a recent blog. ‘Elsewhere in the world visitors not only expect to pay for the privilege of enjoying national parks, they believe it’s right to contribute. Social and environmental pressure such as crowding, traffic, people, noise, waste and increasing demand on facilities need to be actively managed.’
Bamford raises the suggestion of trialling a targeted national park entry fee at up to ten of our most popular sites. He says the technology needed is available, and a precedent already exists with the current visitor levy to Stewart Island, collected as a $5 per visitor fee.