Thursday, July 18, 2024

Direct air link to take tourism bite out of Big Apple

Tourism Minister, Stuart Nash says a new direct air link between New York and Auckland is perfectly timed to capitalise on pent-up demand from North American travellers as borders reopen.

“Air New Zealand’s decision to start the ultra long-haul flight from September 17 is exciting news for our tourism sector. It puts us on a strong footing for the peak summer season of 2022/2023,” said Mr Nash.

“It doesn’t get bigger than the Big Apple. Our Reconnecting Strategy is about even more than reuniting family and friends, it is also a crucial part of our economic recovery.

“Pre COVID, the U.S. was our third largest source of visitors. About 370,000 Americans travelled here in 2019, contributing more than $1.53 billion to the economy. Benefits were felt widely as almost three quarters of U.S. tourists ventured beyond the main centres.

“Tourism New Zealand is actively promoting this country in the U.S. It says demand for travel here is strong. Americans consider this country an appealing destination and those who have visited in the past rate their experience incredibly highly.”

He said the direct route to Auckland removed difficult barriers like time-consuming stopovers for travellers from the East Coast of the U.S.

“Consumers there have built up significant savings during the global pandemic and our global tourism brand is powerful,” the Minister said.

“For example the Northland region was singled out by the influential New York Times in January as one of the world’s top 52 destinations for 2022. It identified Kiwi qualities such as a focus on wellbeing and cultural and environmental connections as drawcards.”

Tourism NZ will host its first in-person global trade show for two years in California in July.

“The event has attracted twice the expected registrations. Californians dominated U.S. tourist numbers in the past, around 23 per cent of arrivals, thanks to direct air links.”

“We are a destination where Americans can truly take a walk on the wild side. Popular activities include adventure tourism, getting up close to wildlife and geothermal attractions, hikes and scenic tours, and cultural events like live shows, museums and galleries.

“Our reputation for hospitality and friendly locals has been enhanced by the way we handled the pandemic. It has reinforced our international image as a nation that cares about people.

“In a world still battling COVID-19, travellers will be discerning about where they go. Our high rates of vaccination, alongside our reputation as a beautiful place to visit, will be an asset in the North American market,” said Mr Nash.

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