1 Mar 2012

Auckland Airport continues to focus on Asian market

8:13 am on 1 March 2012

Auckland Airport says New Zealand needs to work harder to tap into the growing tourism powerhouse, China.

The listed airport made $69 million in the six months to December, 5.5% more than in the same period in 2010.

Its revenue rose 9% to $216 million as international passenger numbers grew 6.5%.

Chief executive Simon Moutter says focussing on Asia is important because of the expected growth from China.

He says the UN World Tourism Organisation expects to see China become the number one country both in terms of sending and receiving tourists in the next five to seven years.

Mr Moutter says New Zealand received only 0.2% of that Chinese outbound tourism market in 2011 - yet in during that year Chinese visitors to New Zealand spent more than double the amount German visitors spent, and outstripped the American visitor market for total spend.

He says if New Zealand could aim for just 1% of the Chinese outbound tourism market, the tourists' total spend would make China New Zealand's most important tourist market.

Mr Moutter says New Zealand will have to work hard to get a share of those extra tourist dollars.

He says to do that Auckland Airport is being innovative and will continue to explore new partnerships, business extensions, information technologies and whatever it takes to increase New Zealand's share of growth in the Asia Pacific region.

Shares in Auckland Airport fell 4 cents to $2.405 cents on Wednesday.