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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.’
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.’
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).
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 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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
The Board of Airline Representatives in New Zealand (BARNZ) continues to advocate for a two-speed then three-speed approach to travel from source markets depending on their Covid risk profile.
And BARNZ executive director Justin Tighe-Umbers told the Tourism Export Council NZ Xmas Symposium this week that he is still hopeful of an open border to the Cook Islands before
Corporate incentive travel out of Australia will provide a huge opportunity for the New Zealand tourism industry when a safe bubble opens, according to a practitioner
in the sector.
Jessica Ireland, of Melbourne based The Incentive Lab, has been in New Zealand since March and is returning to Australia in the New Year. She was at the business events expo BE
Business confidence in New Zealand’s tourism industry is improving but remains low, according to Tourism New Zealand’s latest industry survey.
‘As expected, the six month outlook is poor, with some optimism for the 12 month outlook. This shows that despite the increase in domestic tourism (and business reorientation) businesses are still concerned in the wake of Covid-19 and border restrictions. The poor six month outlook reflects the importance of summer months to businesses, a time when international visitors and
The opening of a hotel in Queenstown next month, followed by a Newmarket property next year, as well as the appointment of hospitality stalwart Richard Crouch as sales and marketing director, are among the developments heralding the arrival of Safari Hotels in New Zealand.
Crouch says he regards touching base with travel management companies (TMCs) and the New Zealand travel trade as a priority. This includes inbouders who may be currently focusing in the
Those tourism operators still in business are mainly intending to tough the current crisis out by adapting to the new conditions, the latest Covid-19 Tourism Industry Survey shows.
Released at the Tourism Industry Aotearoa Summit in Wellington this week, the survey revealed that 43% of respondents are staying in business ‘pretty much as they were’, while 47%
are continuing to operate but at a reduced capacity. Meantime 10% of respondents have placed their businesses in hibernation. None had ceased trading but TIA chief executive Chris Roberts,
Scenic is ramping up the promotion of its just released New Zealand programme and has a number of touch points planned for agents and their clients over the next couple
The company is also reminding travel advisors about some of its tours’ special attributes – such as Scenic Freechoice and Scenic Enrich – and emphasising that the Kiwi and (when the borders
Waiheke Island is encouraging the trade to look at mid-week packages for clients as they look to domestic bookings.
The island’s ‘mini regional tourism office (RTO)’ – Waiheke Island Tourism Inc – has had a new lease of life with a focus on the Kiwi market.
Daniela De-Bruyn, who represents the organisation (and is also marketing and communications manager for Waiheke Winegrowers Association) says operators got together via Zoom during
The country’s largest accommodation network says occupancy rates are on the rise in the wake of Covid enforced lockdowns.
Quest Apartment Hotels New Zealand CEO, Stephen Mansfield, says despite widespread set-backs July sales finished just 7% below revenue for the same time last year.
Leisure Time Travel representatives will be ‘on the road’ over the next couple of weeks distributing and promoting the company’s largest domestic offering in its 35 year history.
‘We wanted to provide some serious collateral that agents can get their teeth into, so a huge amount of what’s in the brochure is new,’ says Scott Mehrtens, Leisure Time’s managing director.
Viva has launched an easy getaway for couples, friends and foodies on Waiheke Island.
Clients stay in a boutique luxury lodge with ocean views and an in-house fine dining chef who will design a four course dining experience to suit.
Two travel industry stalwarts have launched what they describe as an ‘agent-centric’ domestic wholesaler. New Zealand 4 Discovery has been created by Mike Geary, formerly of GO Holidays and House of Travel; and Francis Mortimer, previously with Air New Zealand.
More recently, the two have run their own travel businesses – Geary in hotel representation across the South Pacific and Mortimer wholesaling inbound travel from the French markets.
Lesiure Time is promoting a range of tours in New Zealand that incorporate special interest themes. These include gardening, walking and wine and cuisine through to aviation, rail, agriculture and small boat experiences.
Vicki Annison, sales and marketing manager with Leisure Time Travel says the bespoke tours give definite opportunities to the trade.