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.
‘We want to grow the awareness of FAWC and encourage tour operators and agents to put packages around the event.’
Nyberg says the winter programme includes a popular highlight – Truffle Heaven, and a new Psalms on Sunday at Giant Brewing, Havelock North. Fireside Ginstronomy; a Winter Wellness day retreat; Bike, Beer and Barbecue; and a Flavours of the World evening are just some of the other highlights of the programme.
Jess Wiggins, media and PR at Hawke’s Bay Tourism, says the Auckland function was a chance to give those in the tourism and business events sectors a taste of FAWC. ‘This means when they recommend the event to their clients they know what they are talking about. The beauty for the trade is that FAWC is a timetabled event over every weekend in June and 10 days that include two weekends in November. So it’s a ready made itinerary.’
- At the FAWC preview function... At the FAWC preview function...
- Heather Matthews, Tourism Hawkes Bay;... Heather Matthews, Tourism Hawkes Bay;...
- Hamish Saxton, Hilary Nyberg, both... Hamish Saxton, Hilary Nyberg, both...
- Tim Reid, Laskarina Chadeakis, both... Tim Reid, Laskarina Chadeakis, both...
- Mel Rundle, MediaWorks; Dave Simmons,... Mel Rundle, MediaWorks; Dave Simmons,...
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.
Viva is offering an escape to the countryside region of Wairarapa, where the views and incredible wineries make an ideal setting for a short luxury getaway from Wellington.
Clients stay in the luxury of Wharekauhau's country estate, set above Palliser Bay. They can relax in front of the fireplace and/or take a walk or bike ride on one of the many trails over the estate.
A nature cruise on Okarito Lagoon, on the West Coast, is a key feature of MoaTours’ Southern Beauty tour.
MoaTours founder Ena Hutchinson points out that Okarito Lagoon is New Zealand’s largest pristine wetland and home to 76 bird species. Most notably it is the only breeding area in the country of the kotuku or white heron.
An ‘indepth and slower paced journey’ titled New Zealand Panorama is a new tour in AAT Kings’ 2021/22 programme launched last week.
The programme also includes added exclusive experiences in existing itineraries, plus stringent new wellbeing protocols. There is a 10% early bird discount on selected trips and a $99 per person deposit offer, allowing guests 30 days to change their mind.
Working with agents to tailor make packages for their clients has become a successful strategy for Inspired New Zealand Tours as domestic passengers look for something bespoke in a domestic holiday.
Director John Gregory says groups can be as small as six, benefiting on a personal level by touring with international standard drivers and guides.
Leisure Time Travel is promoting a five day Coromandel Sights and Beaches tour mid April.
Leisure Time’s marketing manager Vicki Annison says the itinerary from 13 to 17 April, takes in the Rapaura Water Gardens, Driving Creek Railway, Matarangi, Buffalo Beach, Whitianga, Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach and Whangamata.
Multi generational travel, ‘hub and spoke’ itineraries, and complex trips combining food, wine and adventure are all areas that travel agents can work in to benefit from Kiwis’ increasing desire to get on their bikes.
Janet Purdy, general manager of Ngā Haerenga The NZ Cycle Trail, says agents are definitely engaging with the organisarion and its operators and earning commission as a result.
Regions and other places that can tell a different story and provide a ‘deeper dive’ into local experiences are the ones that are most likely to succeed in the domestic market, says Louise Frend, destination advisor with Destination Kaikōura.
Cruise World reports its NZ Traveller series has had a solid start since it launched a few weeks ago.
‘We did a lot of quoting in the first couple of weeks and in the last two weeks bookings have been coming in, which is encouraging, ‘says general manager Cherryl Browne. ‘Some enquiry is for the standard package and others have done customising with pre and post package arrangements.’
Cruise World has released its latest New Zealand package – TranzAlpine, Vines & Whales, four nights, five days Christchurch return.
The independent itinerary showcases the TranzAlpine scenic train trip from Christchurch to Greymouth, with self-drive independence from Greymouth to Punakaiki and along to Blenheim. Clients help deliver
Travel agents gearing themselves more to the domestic market, and wanting to avoid challenges of dealing with individual properties and operators while looking like instant experts to their clients, have resources and channels at their fingertips, says David Kettle, director of nzsidekick.
MoaTours’ Country Roads & Cross Hills Gardens Fair is a seven-day, six-night small group tour that visits country gardens of the Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Northern Wairarapa and Manawatu in the spring.
Tweaking the brand to reflect a more diverse offering and enhancing its agency portal for local trade servicing the domestic market, are two recent initiatives of Leisure Time Travel.
Managing director, Scott Mehrtens says the company’s name, Leisure Time Tours has strong recognition but there was a need to emphasise the wider range of travel offerings.
Apex Car Rentals has launched a new car subscription service. Apex Subscribe provides a 28-day car rental for a monthly fee and includes insurance, maintenance, registration, and roadside assistance.
A ‘technically overseas destination’ that is reached without leaving New Zealand is gaining popularity amongst consumers and consequently providing opportunities for the travel trade.
Tourism Chatham Islands manager, Jackie Gurden, says one of the key drivers for growth right now is the inability of Kiwis to head offshore for their holidays. ‘One operator has completely filled tours with people who have cancelled their overseas trip, and they weren’t necessarily existing clients.’