Hilton intends doubling its number of Australasian hotels in the next five years and New Zealand is an important part of the growth, according to the region vice-president operations with the hotel company, Heidi Kunkel. Kunkel was in New Zealand this week, having begun the role six weeks ago (the experienced hospitality professional was most recently with Club Med for 15 years) and says the aim is to have a Hilton and at least one DoubleTree in every major city or tourist centre in the country. Next to open is DoubleTree Wellington in July, adding to a presence Hilton already has in Auckland, Lake Taupo, Christchurch and Queenstown. ‘This is an incredibly exciting time for the travel industry, full of enthusiasm, confidence and opportunities.’
Getting the trade more acquainted with the Avani name as well as spreading the word about Minor Hotels’ other brands is a key objective of the sales team in New Zealand. While a significant amount of attention is on the Avani Metropolis in Kitchener Street Auckland, the company is also highlighting a new build project in Wellington, its growing portfolio of Oaks and Avani properties both here and in Australia, and the Anantara collection based mainly through Thailand.
Auckland based Shweta Mhatre, area director of sales, and Amy Armstrong, business development manager say the Avani in Auckland officially launched last November and the key now is to promote the hotel and others in the portfolio to the trade. To this end a roadshow will be held late June in addition to ongoing sales calls. (Details to come in TRAVELinc Memo.) ‘We want to reach the inbounders but also outbound retailers and wholesalers, brokers, corporate travel agents and managers, and government sector meeting planners.’
The new hotel in Wellington will be in the newly earthquake strengthened Colonial Motor Company Building on Courtenay Place. It will have 226 rooms and is expected to open around mid-2019. Avani Metropolis Residences in Auckland, meantime, is right in the CBD, easy walking distance to the harbour (Britomart is 550 metres away, Downtown Ferry terminal 650 metres), and adjacent to Albert Park. The property has its own gym and swimming pool, while numerous cafes, restaurants and bars are a couple of minutes walk away.
First timer at TRENZ, inbound group tour operator Manaaki Adventures NZ is a real-life manifestation of turning passion into reality. The company was co-founded by Kiwis Hemi Coates and Dan Meade, both ex PE and outdoor education teachers who decided to turn their love for teaching and the outdoors into a business, while also spotting a gap in the market for quality inbound rugby tours.
Tourism New Zealand aims to grow the visitor spend in the regions by $1 billion per annum (from 2023), and has also announced changes to its 100% Pure Tourism New Zealand brand. ‘Tourism New Zealand will help regional tourism grow by $1 billion per annum more than current numbers by developing, implementing and promoting strategies that are inclusive of our regions as well as the gateways that connect them to the world,’ says Stephen England-Hall, chief executive. ‘Over the coming months Tourism New Zealand will source and share new valuable visitor insights with industry and government to guide decision making and identify opportunities.’
There will also be a brand refresh for TNZ. ‘The brand is incredibly successful, showcasing the country’s landscapes and scenery and has worked because it reinforces the key reasons visitors choose New Zealand,’ says England-Hall. However, he says what it doesn’t do is showcase New Zealand’s people and culture, their way of being and the warm welcome they extend. ‘This is what we know stays with people after they have visited, and becomes the essence of our brand that people share and talk about long after they return to their country,’ he says. Tourism New Zealand is working with Māori Tourism and will talk to a range of stakeholders over the coming months to incorporate people and culture into New Zealand’s tourism brand. ‘Our people and culture are diverse and multifaceted and we need to make sure we capture this authentically and deliver something Kiwis will embrace,’ he says. ‘It’s very easy to screw up so we’re taking our time to make sure we are doing it right.’
Speakers explored a number of opportunities that could up visitation to New Zealand, especially in the low season, when The Auckland Airport International Travel Summit 2018 was held in Dunedin yesterday ahead of TRENZ. Kiwi broadcaster Alison Mau opened the event, with Scott Tasker, GM of aeronautical commercial at Auckland Airport one of the key speakers who touched on change, and the different ways the industry can navigate it.
INFLITE has purchased Skydive Franz Josef Glacier, the country’s only skydive operator to offer a 19,000ft skydive.
Flying from the popular West Coast town of Franz Josef, jumpers are able to freefall from 19,000ft above the Westland and Aoraki/Mt Cook National Parks which form part of the Te Wāhipounamu - South West New Zealand
A need to keep up with the fast changing business environment has been identified as a crucial factor if travel agents wish to remain relevant and successful. Margot Dow, who is a finalist in the best Travel Agency Manager – Corporate category of the upcoming National Travel Industry Awards, says it is critical for the industry to keep well informed on products such as Uber and Airbnb.’
Fuzion Travel has signed a new long term lease on premises in Dominion Rd, Auckland, with the move coming on the back of what the company describes as ‘rapid growth’. Stuart McKay, director of Fuzion Travel, says the company now has affiliates / brokers in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, Wanaka and Dunedin.
A move by tourism teachers to form a dedicated association looks set to have a positive downstream result for employers in the travel and tourism sectors.
When the Flight Centre team at Auckland Airport turn up for work each day they have little idea of what they will be dealing with over the next few hours, but they do know one thing – it won’t be the same as the day before.
More people are looking for experiences outside the boundaries of their day to day life, increasingly providing opportunities for travel agents, says Leah Morresey, a finalist in the Best Travel Consultant – Retail category.
‘Clients who have researched the internet for their holiday are far more reluctant now to go ahead and book it themselves,’ says Kay Rogers, managing director of YOU Travel Mount Group.
The finalists for the 2018 Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) were announced yesterday, and those in the running say the process gives them the chance to focus on their strengths (and challenges).
Ten top performing agents from around New Zealand took off recently on a ‘supertour’ that includes castles, cathedrals, caves and cuisine around Europe’s hottest destination. Participants are the top performing agents across the Globus Family of Brands that includes; Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways.
Localyokl, a curated online platform that connects travellers with local guides around Australia for a more immersive and personalised travel experience, has just announced a New Zealand expansion within the next six months.
‘Our Kiwi cousins are renowned for their adventurous spirit and doing things differently. New Zealand is hearing the demand for more local, unique and immersive experiences by travellers and we see locals helping deliver on that demand,’ says Azra Alagic, co-founder.
The increase in international visitor numbers to the Bay of Plenty has seen new products in the region become export ready – something that will be reflected in the Bay’s turnout at eXplore 2018.
‘The region’s message is ‘It’s in our Nature’ and our group of operators are all about fitting into the natural beauty and abundance of natural assets we have to offer,’ says Denise Siviter, trade marketing manager Tourism
Canterbury ski area Porters has new mountain bike trails that are free to use with three zones catering for beginners to advanced riders.
Porters summer activities co-ordinator Jason Collins says the tracks were designed to be fun for all abilities and ages.
Mt Hutt is holding its open day this year on Saturday 3 March, and with Cyclone Gita’s help there is around 50cm of snow.
‘I know some of our die-hard skiers and riders will be very excited, but honestly, we’re not ready for winter just yet,’ says Mt Hutt Ski area manager James McKenzie.
Hong Kong-based Langham Hospitality Group has announced new expansion plans for the recently refurbished Cordis Auckland.
These plans will make the upper upscale hotel the largest in New Zealand in terms of room count and is set to be complete by late 2020, in time for The America’s Cup.
The Rees Queenstown recently rolled out Optii Keeper across its housekeeping department, which services 60 hotel rooms, 90 apartments and five lakeside private residences.
Optii Keeper is a housekeeping system that can dierentiate between a lightly used room occupied by a guest, to one that’s been lived in by a family for days – managing quality and productivity so the housekeeping schedule
Christchurch is taking advantage of its vibrant street art and mural scene that has become a strong element of the city’s identity.
Visitors can now go deeper and learn more about the individual works and artists behind the artworks by doing a 1.5-hour guided tour through the CBD with Watch This Space.
Tourism New Zealand is promoting the West Coast of the South Island and Northland in a twelve-week campaign to encourage Australians to travel to New Zealand during autumn this year.
Australia is New Zealand’s biggest international visitor market, accounting for nearly half of all international holiday visitors.
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall says the latest campaign is a signicant and strategic eort to continue to drive New Zealand’s holiday visitors beyond the popular tourist spots.
Kiwi holidaymakers should still be able to find room in a few holiday parks around the country, even when they are so popular right now.
Holiday parks hosted a record 545,000 guest nights in October, up 77,000 (16.4%) on the same month in 2016.
‘This was a bigger increase for October than for hotels, motels or backpackers. Holiday parks have a growing appeal to a wide range of travellers – families, grey nomads and young road trippers,’ says Holiday Parks New
Amadeus used this year’s Christmas catch up to introduce a fresh look team.
Emma Donovan is now head of sales for New Zealand / Pacific Islands with Amadeus and has been joined in the sales team by recent starters Janine McCabe, who has had 10 years at STA Travel, and Aloma Butler who
Slate Hut at Welcome Rock Trails is a private high country station near Queenstown, on the way to Te Anau.
Guests can now take advantage of an overnight fully guided package – one night’s accommodation with meals included and a guided walk by the owner for the station.
New Zealand-based tourism company Skyline Enterprises is currently exploring opportunities to develop Luge facilities in Swansea, Wales and Seoul, South Korea.
Although the proposed developments are still in the investigation stages, Skyline Enterprises executive chairman Mark Quickfall says it is hoped that Swansea will be Skyline’s first European destination.
The facility would comprise a gondola system, Luge tracks, chairlift, zip line and restaurant on Kilvey Hill.
The visitor centre in Te Anau re-opened on Wednesday, which Real Journeys chief executive Richard Lauder says had to be completely gutted for refurbishment.
‘It’s part of our commitment to continue to invest in Te Anau - the heart of our business,’ he says.
The Len Lye Centre Cinema in New Plymouth has a range of new events and film screenings happening this year and in 2018.
On 7 December it launches Late Night Cinema on the first Thursday of each month at 7pm.
The Bowie Film Festival coincides with the first year anniversary of the artist’s death in January.
In Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s recent brief to new Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis, TIA pointed out that tourism is New Zealand’s fastest growing economic contributor, as well as its biggest industry, biggest employer and biggest export sector.
The brief identified some immediate priorities for industry and Government to partner on.
It also makes 24 specific recommendations to the new government that would see tourism increasing its contribution to New Zealand’s economy if implemented.
A 20-metre-high viewing platform has been added to Rotorua’s popular Redwoods Treewalk.
The activity, located in Rotorua’s famous Redwoods Forest in the heart of the city, already features the world’s longest tree suspended walkway and a collection of David Trubridge lanterns to provide an other-worldly nighttime experience.
The Treaty House at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds has re-opened its doors to the public with a new exhibition installed by Workshop e.
Greg McManus, CEO of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, says the upgrade of the Treaty House is the latest stage of an ongoing project to develop a world-class visitor experience at the Treaty Grounds.
‘The Treaty House, or Busby House as it is sometimes known, was the site of some of the most important events in our nation’s history. It is central to our story as a nation and deserves to be looked after and interpreted well,’ he says.
Skyline Queenstown has released a number of figures as it prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in November with ‘Fifty Years of Fun’ competitions and community-focused events.
Some of the figures over the past 50 years include: Seventeen million gondola rides, 12 million Luge experiences, 850,000 pints of beer, 350,000 rotisserie chickens and 65 tonnes of coffee beans.
Queenstown and Wanaka airports are joining airports and aviation-associated agencies around the world to take part in Airport Safety Week.
Held between 16-20 October 2017, this year’s overall theme is One Airport One Team, with a programme of events featuring experts from various aviation, emergency management and health and safety disciplines.
Jucy has landed a role in a multi-million dollar global marketing campaign to get more youth travellers to Australia.
The Kiwi accommodation and vehicle rental brand will feature in Tourism Australia’s latest global youth campaign, targeting young international travellers and working holiday makers in key European markets including the UK, Italy, Germany and France.
Mt Ruapehu has unveiled its new season pass prices for 2018 and says the response has been overwhelming.
With the company’s best season pass price in over a decade on offer, mtruapehu.com saw a record amount of daily traffic on the first day of the sale, recording over 14,000 page views in the sale’s first 24 hours.
The first Facebook post promoting the sale reached 130,000 in 24 hours, gaining 38,000 views and 2,300 comments, shares and reactions.
Forget about a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach if you’re an industry rep in the travel sector, it just doesn’t work.
A new initiative to develop Auckland tourism ambassadors launched this week. The training programme is designed to upskill frontline staff from Auckland tourism businesses, helping them expand their local knowledge, and providing them with simple tools to create positive and memorable experiences for visitors to the region.
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