New partnership to attract North American travellers
Three of New Zealand’s largest tourism organisations have formed a new partnership to leverage their collective strength to accelerate the return of North American travellers to Aotearoa New Zealand.
Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, Auckland Airport, and Destination Queenstown have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together to develop a compelling offering for North American leisure, business and incentive travellers to enjoy an Auckland-Queenstown experience.
“We are delighted to be working together to provide a strong Aotearoa New Zealand proposition for the North American market. A core focus for us as international travellers return is to encourage slower, more immersive travel for those who come to our shores. This partnership aims to invite travellers to visit two complementary New Zealand destinations – Queenstown, with its majestic landscapes and world-class experiences, and Auckland, with its bustling, cultural vibrancy within the Hauraki Gulf,” says Richard Thomas, Destination Queenstown Chair.
“Our aim is that the Auckland-Queenstown proposition becomes the foundation of a New Zealand itinerary for US travellers, and that over time this encourages more North American visitors to come to Aotearoa and spend more time and money in our communities,” says Nick Hill, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Chief Executive.
In 2019, almost half (46 per cent) of all visitor spend from the USA was spent in Auckland and Queenstown. North America has also been identified as a priority market by both Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand.
Following the launch of the New York service in September 2022, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland will be the most connected city in Australasia to North America with seven, year-round, non-stop destinations on offer and 60 flights per week. Queenstown is arguably the most popular visitor destination in New Zealand and has a strong connection to Auckland with 50 flights per week.
“Even pre-COVID, North America was already a really important – and growing – market for arrivals into Auckland Airport. In fact, more than 80 per cent of North American visitors to New Zealand touched down in Auckland,” says Scott Tasker, Auckland Airport General Manager Aeronautical Commercial.
“As aviation recovers, we’re seeing a real eagerness from airlines to re-start those connections and in some cases, like Air New Zealand, develop new routes. It not only provides a great choice of airlines for visitors to Aotearoa New Zealand, but will also drive the tourism recovery. We expect arrivals from the USA alone to overtake China as our second biggest tourism market this year and hold that position until at least 2026,” Mr Tasker says.
A key action for the partners is developing itineraries that will focus on must-dos in both regions: food, golf, luxury, outdoors, arts and culture, low-carbon experiences, and a specific incentives itinerary. A toolkit will be developed for operators in both regions to support the messaging.
“Together, we want to make it easy for our own teams, our trade partners and operators in our regions to present a strong and consistent message to the North American market about what a fantastic holiday in Aotearoa New Zealand could look like. The USA is also a significant market for trade and investment attraction – the second-largest source of foreign direct investment into New Zealand and Auckland, and it is an opportunity for us to showcase what our country has to offer,” adds Nick Hill.
The partnership will also see relationships and partnerships collectively leveraged and the three organisations working together on joint sales calls and in-market representation, road shows, media and travel agent visits, and promotion through owned channels. It is agreed that all partners will contribute resources equally to initiatives.