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New Zealand hosts UK travel agents

Nearly 100 top travel agents from 65 different travel agencies in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales are in New Zealand this week to experience some Kiwi hospitality…

Nearly 100 top travel agents from 65 different travel agencies in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales are in New Zealand this week to experience some Kiwi hospitality co-hosted by Air New Zealand and Travel 2, the airline`s leading UK wholesaler. Air New Zealand expects the event to pay big dividends for New Zealand tourism – the United Kingdom is now New Zealand`s second largest source of tourists behind Australia, and is growing at more than 10% per year.

The UK and Ireland is an important market for New Zealand. Some 270,000 people from this region visited New Zealand in the past twelve months, contributing approximately $900 million to the economy, said Air New Zealand Group General Manager Sales and Marketing Norm Thompson.

Some of the key travel agents involved in that market are here to experience the best New Zealand has to offer, which they are sure to share with their customers at home. Our previous experience with these types of events usually results in an approximate 20% increase in booking activity, representing a significant boost for our tourism industry, he said.

Travel 2 sees New Zealand as one of its fastest growing destinations and is excited by the opportunity to give its agents first hand knowledge of what we have to offer in our country.

The importance of the visit is reinforced by the inclusion of several senior Travel 2 management including joint Managing Director Graham Moss and Director of Ground Product Frances Blair.

This is the largest group of agents Air New Zealand has ever hosted, and consists of six teams travelling to key tourist destinations around the country before all coming together in Queenstown for an intensive training and education workshop this weekend 22-23 November.

Demand in the UK and Ireland to be part of the `mega famil` was very high, with travel agents eager to participate. Agents who won a place had to have an in-depth knowledge of the Air New Zealand product before being considered, with only the highest performing sales agents securing a place.

This event is a highlight for Air New Zealand`s inbound tourism programme, said Mr Thompson.

As the national carrier, Air New Zealand commits more than $70 million annually in offshore investment to drive tourism to New Zealand. We account for 90% of all airline expenditure in promoting New Zealand annually and see activity such as the Travel 2 co-hosted event as invaluable.

In the past 12 months Air New Zealand has flown in more than 170 international journalists in conjunction with Tourism New Zealand activity, to produce substantial editorial coverage about New Zealand as a destination.

We also host our own travel agent groups and journalists that we see as particularly important to our business, such as Travel 2, further contributing to international awareness of New Zealand as a destination,
said Mr Thompson.

While in New Zealand the travel agents will visit a variety of locations popular with UK visitors including the Bay of Islands, Auckland, Matamata, Coromandel, Rotorua, Napier, Nelson, Marlborough, Christchurch, Mt Cook, Queenstown, Dunedin and Kaikoura.

UK travellers` top five regions to visit are Auckland, Canterbury, Otago, Wellington and the Bay of Plenty.

The Travel 2 group will convene in Queenstown on the 22nd and 23rd, finishing with a specially themed Dinner in Middle-earth event on Monday night.

The trip is supported by a range of other tourism organisations including Pan Pacific, Avis, Sky City, Accor Hotels, Millennium Hotels and Regional Tourism Offices around the country.

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