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New direct air service will fuel US visitor growth

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Air New Zealand’s announcement today that it will start flying direct to Houston, Texas will help New Zealand’s tourism industry accelerate growth out of the important US visitor market, says the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA).

The airline will fly its refitted Boeing 777-200 aircraft between Auckland and Houston up to five times a week from December this year.

“The US is New Zealand’s third largest visitor market and one that is performing strongly off the back of a much improved economy and increased consumer confidence,” says TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts.

“US visitor arrivals totalled 220,512 in 2014, up 9.5% on the previous year, with strong growth continuing into 2015. A lot of that growth is being generated out of the western states. This new direct flight will open up opportunities to attract more visitors from southern and mid-west states and major east coast cities who can catch connecting flights into Houston.”

Mr Roberts says US visitors spent an estimated NZ$771 million in 2014, an impressive 32% increase on 2013.

“This new Air New Zealand service will continue to fuel that dollar growth as we know demand is ramped up by direct flights.”

Mr Roberts says the Houston air connection is a great example of the tourism industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework in action.

“Tourism 2025 identifies increased sustainable air connectivity as critically important to boosting the industry’s value from its current $24 billion to $41 billion by 2025. We also know that when a new sustainable air connection is established the whole industry benefits.”

For further information, please contact:

Ann-Marie Johnson
Communications Manager
Tourism Industry Association (TIA)
DDI: 04 496 5001
Mobile: 027 600 4565
Email: ann-marie.johnson@tianz.org.nz

Commercial Accommodation Monitor Feb 15

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

The latest Commercial Accommodation Monitor (CAM) Figures for February 2015:

The Hamilton & Waikato region saw an increase in guest nights of 9.3% for the month of February 2015 compared to February 2014. International guest nights rose 2.7% and domestic guest nights rose 12.3%.

For the year ended February 2015 guest nights rose by 6.3%. International guest nights rose 4.2% and domestic guest nights rose 7.0%.

National figures saw an increase of 5.4% month on month with international guest nights increasing 8.6% and domestic guest nights increasing 2.5%.

For more information click here.

West Coasters spend up large on travel

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Aucklanders travel throughout New Zealand the most, but their cousins in the West Coast are the biggest spenders according to recent AA Traveller research.

Residents on the West Coast spend almost $3000 every year on domestic travel, double that of Aucklanders who only spend about $1500 every year.

A possible reason for this comes out of the AA Traveller research which found that West Coasters spend the most nights away from home while travelling domestically, about 21 nights on average, beating the national average of approximately two-weeks.

AA General Manager Travel and Tourism Grant Lilly says another likely reason is because Aucklanders travel mostly to places within a few hours’ drive of the city, which keeps costs down, while travellers from the West Coast are more likely to drive longer distances or fly and ferry across the Cook Strait.

“More Aucklanders also have baches, or friends with baches, so many avoid accommodation charges,” he says.

The biggest beneficiaries of Auckland visitors as a share of their total visitors are Northland and Coromandel, while the lowest are regional Canterbury and Waitaki.

The AA Traveller Monitor looks into domestic overnight tourism in New Zealand, the largest component of New Zealand’s Tourism industry. The research is conducted in conjunction with tourism research specialists The Fresh Information Company.

“Domestic travel is the foundation on which the vast bulk of New Zealand’s tourism businesses are built and survive, providing their biggest volume of customers and balancing out the seasonal peaks and troughs in New Zealand’s international visitor flows,” Mr Lilly says.

“The AA Traveller Monitor includes comprehensive data split by region and provides valuable indicators about domestic travel patterns, which are useful for domestic tourism operators when it comes to how they promote their region and target the market.”

The research also shows that Auckland gets the biggest share of domestic travel trips, at approximately 5.3 million (almost 20% of all domestic trips) with the next biggest share going to Northland (approximately 7%) followed by Waikato at just more than 6%. Queenstown attracts about 2% of the national domestic visitor total.

While Queenstown makes up a small part of the total domestic travel market, the research shows that the largest proportion of local travellers to the resort town are Aucklanders who make up 27% of its 665,600 domestic visitors annually, ahead of visitors from Canterbury at 24%. If a holiday away from the crowd is preferred the report suggests travelling to Fiordland and Clutha, which both make up less than 1% of the domestic tourism market.

“Domestic travel and tourism is worth $13.8 billion in economic input to the New Zealand economy, which is around 30 percent larger than the value of our international visitors,” says Mr Lilly. “It’s an area of our tourism market that needs greater focus.”

AA Traveller Monitor by the numbers:

  • Domestic travel and tourism is worth $13.8 billion in economic input to the New Zealand economy, $36.7 million a day, which is around 30% larger than the value of our international visitors.
  • New Zealanders undertook an estimated 25.47 million domestic overnight trips in the year ended June 2014, an average of more than five trips per person.
  • The average duration of each trip was 2.71 nights.
  • Almost one third of all trips were for the purpose of a holiday, a break away, with 46.6% being to visit friends and family, and only 12.3% being for business.
  • The average spend per trip, across all purposes, was $326.00.
  • New Zealanders spent an average of almost $2000 per annum on domestic travel, which is more than three weeks income at the country’s median weekly income level in 2014 of $600.
  • Auckland gets the biggest share of domestic travel with 16.2% of all domestic travel trips followed by Northland (7.1%) and Waikato (6.6%).
  • Auckland provides Queenstown with 27.2% of its visitors.

For more information click here

Regional Tourism Indicators – Feb 2015

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

The latest Regional Tourism Indicators for February 15:

The latest Regional Tourism for February 2015 show international expenditure in the region sits at an index of 184, an increase of 27 points on February 2014 and higher than the national average of 164.

Domestic expenditure in the region for February 2015 sits at an index of 97, an increase of 11 points on February 2014 and lower than the national average of 109.

Read More

The regional tourism indicators (RTI) measure the change in level of expenditure of both international and domestic travellers in New Zealand by region.

The data is based on electronic card transactions.

Big jump in February spend

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

International visitor spending in February 2015 was 14% higher than February 2014.

Most regions showed stronger international spending in February 2015 than in February 2014, with very strong performances in Lake Wanaka, South Canterbury and Ruapehu.

TIA’s Senior Insight Advisor Steve Riley says regions like Ruapehu provide a good example of what the industry is doing differently in terms of addressing seasonality and improving regional dispersal.

Steve says the overall growth trend reinforces the positive last quarter of 2014 when there was a 15% increase in international visitor spending. Read more.

Source: TIA Newsletter

New research shows tourism in a hearty state

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

New Zealand’s tourism industry is in a strong position to take advantage of growth opportunities, according to the State of the Tourism Industry 2014, released by TIA and Lincoln University.

Key findings include:

• While most tourism expenditure occurs in the gateway cities like Auckland and Christchurch, the impact of expenditure is more marked in more sparsely populated regions
• Australians are spending less time here, supporting the hypothesis they now consider New Zealand a domestic destination which they may visit multiple times
• Airline passenger capacity (seats) increased by 6.3% from 2013 to reach 7.8 million seats in 2014

Tourism 2025 highlights the importance of good insight to ensure we are responsive to a fast-changing world, says TIA CEO Chris Roberts.

Download the full report or click here to see infographic highlights.

One million pairs of ‘hairy feet’ visit New Zealand’s Hobbiton Movie Set

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

One million pairs of ‘hairy feet’ visit New Zealand’s Hobbiton Movie SetFor well over a decade tourists have been visiting a small pocket of green farmland in the depths of Middle-earth™ New Zealand and today marks a special milestone for the famous destination.

Video release links – You Tube

Hobbiton™ Movie Set, near Matamata in New Zealand’s Waikato region, has welcomed its one millionth visitor in a celebration that coincides with the very reason for its existence. As the movie set milestone was reached in the lush hills of the real Middle-earth- New Zealand, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – the final film in Sir Peter Jackson’s epic Trilogies adapting the timeless novels of J.R.R. Tolkien – was being released to the world on DVD/Blu-Ray.

Few would have realised the impact the movies would have on the real Middle-earth, New Zealand. Hobbiton Movie Set is now one of New Zealand’s most visited tourist attractions and has become an international bucket-list travel destination. Since filming wrapped on The Hobbit Trilogy, New Zealand has seen an unprecedented increase in the flow of fans and tourists to the country, with more visitors than ever before citing the popular films as an influencing factor when choosing New Zealand as a holiday destination.

Hobbiton Movie Set’s General Manager Russell Alexander was on-hand to welcome the one millionth visitor—Don McCormack, from Southern California—who was given an exact replica of the Trilogies’ emblematic “The One Ring,” made in Nelson, New Zealand, along with a bottle of the Green Dragon’s finest ale.

“‘It is a very exciting and humbling achievement to have hosted one million guests over the past thirteen years, it’s an incredible milestone. We are extremely proud of our enduring role in the real Middle-earth and we look forward to hosting many more visitors in the years to come,” says Alexander.

One millionth Hobbit

Don McCormack, the Hobbiton Movie Set’s one millionth visitor, was ecstatic with his prize and couldn’t wait to send pictures to his grandson back home in America.

“It was really unexpected. We were coming just to enjoy the set, and we are excited about being the one millionth visitor. We’re die-hard fans; when the latest movie came out we had to wait in line to get tickets to go see it.”

McCormack and his wife have been enjoying a trip around the North Island of New Zealand, and say Hobbiton was “unbelievably beautiful.”

“I can’t believe how much detail there is, it’s unbelievable. I’m amazed that everything around it is all real. This little piece of Middle-earth is amazing, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the rest of it.”

Middle-earth lives on

Middle-earth fans, fascinated by the world Sir Peter Jackson captured on film during his The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies, continue to visit the dramatic scenery of New Zealand- the cinematic Middle-earth.

International visitor arrivals data for year ending February 2015 show holiday arrivals into New Zealand are up 7.8 per cent year on year.

For the period January to December 2014, just over 100,000 international visitors said that The Hobbit Trilogy was a factor in influencing their initial interest in New Zealand.

Tourism New Zealand’s Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says that The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and, more recently, The Hobbit Trilogy gave New Zealand a unique opportunity to showcase itself as a visitor destination by leveraging off one of the largest movie franchises in history.

“The Trilogies have put New Zealand and its stunning landscapes centre stage for movie lovers world-wide, and Tourism New Zealand’s work has been to connect the landscapes of Middle-earth with the experiences of a real life New Zealand holiday.

“And while the Trilogies are complete, New Zealand’s association as the home of the cinematic Middle-earth will live on. The establishment of Middle-earth tourism experiences – the most famous being Hobbiton Movie Set – ensures the legacy continues.”

A long yet rewarding journey

It has been a long journey since a location scout first came knocking on the Alexander farm door in 1998. Back then, the fertile green paddocks on a quiet back country road were home to the Alexander family, and their grazing livestock – 13,500 sheep and around 400 cattle.

Hobbiton was then created by director Sir Peter Jackson to depict the home of the Hobbits for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

In December 2002, Russell Alexander was conducting the first tours of the movie set, and which was rebuilt out of permanent materials from 2009 to 2011 for The Hobbit Trilogy.

Since then, tourists from all over the world have been flocking to Hobbiton Movie Set to get their own insider’s view of the epic filming projects, making it the largest permanent film set you can visit in the world.

The two-hour tour shows tourists around 44 Hobbit Holes dug into the green Waikato hillside, Hobbit orchards, the Party Tree and party field, and finishes with a pint in The Green Dragon™ Inn.

Alexander says,

“I can honestly say I never in my wildest dreams thought it would be this big. From where we began in 2002, running a couple of tours in our wee van, to where we are now is very humbling and a true testament to the great team we have here at Hobbiton Movie Set. It doesn’t stop here though, I have made it a personal goal to do something new every year. We have some very exiting additions we will be unveiling in the next 12 months so watch this space.”

Hobbiton Movie Set fact file

• Film set area: covers approximately 12 acres

• Hobbit houses: 44 Hobbit Holes

• Party tree: 70 – 80 metres tall

• Construction: 70 set builders

• Catering: During production, three meals were served daily to cast and crew, plus snacks on demand for 600+ people

• Gardens: 2.3km (and growing) hedges; 30 – 200 plants around each Hobbit house

• Ground staff: 7 – 8 gardeners during height of season, 5 in winter

• Traditional ales, cider and non-alcoholic ginger beer, all brewed exclusively for Hobbiton, are served from barrels behind the bar at the Green Dragon Inn.

• The set is a two-hour drive from Auckland and within easy access of other tourist destinations including Rotorua, Waitomo, Tauranga and the city of Hamilton.

About The Hobbit Trilogy:

Peter Jackson, the Academy Award®-winning director of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, directed The Hobbit Trilogy – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and the final film, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. The Trilogy screenplays were written by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro. Jackson also produced the films, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers. All three films in The Hobbit Trilogy are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures handled worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution handled by MGM.

About The Lord of the Rings Trilogy:

From New Line Cinema, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is directed by Peter Jackson from screenplays by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson based on the book by J. R. R. Tolkien. Produced by Barrie M. Osborne, Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson, the Trilogy is co-produced by Rick Porras and Jamie Selkirk. Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne are the executive producers, along with Mark Ordesky.

Outstanding month of arrivals drives overall visitor growth

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

The combination of Chinese New Year and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 has resulted in impressive arrivals growth for the month of February, says Tourism New Zealand’s Chief Executive Kevin Bowler.

Arrivals in February 2015 were up 14.0 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The data, released today by Statistics New Zealand, confirms that much of the growth is driven from the higher-value holiday visitor, with holiday arrivals for the month up 24.2 per cent.

As a result, total arrivals for the year ending February are up 5.1 per cent and holiday arrivals up 7.8 per cent pushing New Zealand’s total arrivals above 2.9 million annually of the first time ever.

China has seen staggering growth for the month with holiday arrivals up over 100 per cent.

“Chinese New Year is a key travel period for this market so it is great to see that reflected in the months arrivals,” says Kevin.

“What is even more encouraging is the increase in holiday stay days, up 30.6 per cent for the year ended February, which is a great sign that we are attracting more high quality Chinese visitors.”

Growth for the month was further bolstered by the Cricket World Cup which kicked off in February. Tourism New Zealand’s activity around the major sporting event has worked to target the key markets of Australia, India and the UK.

“As a result these markets have seen positive growth for the month with Australia up 1.6 per cent, the UK up 1.8 per cent and India up an incredible 36.0 per cent.

“The event continues into March so I am confident we will continue to see the flow on effects in next month’s arrivals.”

Holiday results are strong out of the Asian markets of Singapore (up 9.2 per cent), Japan (up 11.6 per cent), Korea (up 12.2 per cent) for the year ending February 2015.

Tourism New Zealand’s priority emerging markets are performing well year-on-year with total arrivals from Brazil up 12.4 per cent and Indonesia up 13.3 per cent.

Year-on-year growth has been further supported by solid holiday arrivals from Western markets with holiday arrivals from the US, UK and Germany up 13.8 per cent, 2.6 per cent and 11.8 per cent respectively.

Our largest source market, Australia, has seen steady growth over the summer months with holiday arrivals up 1.4 per cent for the year ending February.

ENDS

Commercial Accommodation Monitor Jan 15

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

The latest Commercial Accommodation Monitor (CAM) Figures for January 2015:

The Hamilton & Waikato region saw an increase in guest nights of 6.9% for the month of January 2015 compared to January 2014. International guest nights rose 15.9% and domestic guest nights rose 4.3%.

For the year ended January 2015 guest nights rose by 6.4%. International guest nights rose 5.0% and domestic guest nights rose 6.8%.

National figures saw an increase of 3.8% month on month with international guest nights increasing 2.5% and domestic guest nights increasing 4.6%.

For more information click here.

Hospitality Training Trust grants available

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

The Hospitality Training Trust has $135,000 worth of grants available for projects to encourage and support training in the sector.

It could be a great training idea, training for an outstanding employee or a project related to hospitality training. Read more.