18 Dec 2022

Tourism body working to get recovery underway in volatile market

7:12 pm on 18 December 2022
queenstown airport

Destinations like Queenstown are seeing more visitors and more spending. Photo: 123RF

Tourism New Zealand says the industry is making promising steps towards recovery but it will take years for it to bounce back after years of disruptions.

Its chief executive René de Monchy said the body had tried to avoid forecasting for the summer because the market remained very volatile.

"But if you look at a 50-60 percent recovery that probably seems like a reasonable figure of what it's going to look like in the summer," de Monchy said.

"Airline capacity is going to be roughly back to about 70 percent leading into the summer as well, so that's positive."

October figures showed total visitor arrivals were about 57 percent compared to the same period in 2019, he said.

In September, arrivals from Australia hit 82 percent compared to the same month in 2019, but spending had returned to 100 percent of what it was, de Monchy said.

"We're really seeing that value increase ahead of the volume, which is probably not that surprising given some of the price points as well."

He acknowledged that businesses were facing challenges, particularly workforce shortages, as they scaled back up.

Currently, airline seat capacity flying into New Zealand sat at 68 percent.

Tourism New Zealand was actively working with airlines and airports to try and attract more airlines and routes to return, he said.

"American Airlines has returned for their seasonal service out of Dallas Fort Worth into Auckland.

"Just a couple of weeks ago, Emirates returned their direct service from Dubai back into Auckland."

They were vital steps for connectivity as New Zealand's location meant the flight was the biggest hurdle to get tourists here, he said.

Tourism New Zealand's first global campaign in two years, If You Seek, was already making waves overseas after launching in August.

The campaign is aimed to pique the interest of curious travellers.

In the major markets of Australia, the United States and China, 92 percent of people actively considering a trip to New Zealand have seen If You Seek.

"That has made them more likely to want to visit New Zealand so we're seeing some very positive results out of that," de Monchy said.

In the past four months, the campaign has generated close to 200,000 referrals to operators.

The campaign would be sticking around for the foreseeable future as it appealed to visitors New Zealand was hoping to attract and fit in well with the 100% Pure New Zealand brand, he said.

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