At the MEETINGS 2021 expo... Adam Reinsfield, TW Events & Incentives; Karen Witham, Business Events Southland; Nikki Buckley, Ascot Park Hotel and Conference Centre, Invercargill At the MEETINGS 2021 expo... Adam Reinsfield, TW Events & Incentives; Karen Witham, Business Events Southland; Nikki Buckley, Ascot Park Hotel and Conference Centre, Invercargill

Pulse stronger at high end

Incentive organisers, luxury group operators and corporate travel agents have been updating themselves on high-end domestic opportunities at the MEETINGS 2021 exhibition this week.

As well as reporting growing movement by corporates looking to reward and motivate staff within New Zealand, they are reporting that group travel to Australia is continuing to gain traction (though bookings tend to be for travel a few weeks out at least).

The opening of the Cook Islands has also given agents dealing at the top end of the market a boost, they say.

Kim Herd, of Venture Travel and Events, says that since the bubble opened she has had about 30 bookings to the Cook Islands, including a high end group of six.

‘They are flying business class or premium economy and staying at Pacific Resort Aitutaki and the Little Polynesian in Rarotonga.’

She also has a small group heading to Hobart. ‘They are going for a motor cycle event, but they are away seven days, staying at Freycinet Lodge near Wine Glass Bay as well as the Wood Store Apartments in Hobart and a boutique B&B just out of Launceston.’

She says Norfolk Island is another destination definitely showing promise and Queensland is starting to pick up.

At MEETINGS, Herd talked to a number of operators, including some she is working with for a group heading to Southland.

Adam Leslie, general manager events with 212F, says incentive group travel both ways across the Tasman is definitely gaining traction. ‘Interest in Aussie is definitely picking up. We have a possible group to Sydney in August and another to Tasmania in February. They are enquiries at the moment but I think they will both happen.

‘Domestic remains strong for us, but those groups who have traditionally travelled overseas will want to again as soon as they fell safe to do so. It will be Australia and the Islands first – and then beyond.’

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