The arrival on Sunday, 4 November of Air New Zealands first direct flight from Vancouver, Canada to Auckland signals a positive future for New Zealands second fastest growing tourism market. Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton says the launch of the new service is well timed.
New Zealand is already one of Canadas most popular destinations, said Mr Hickton. The Canadian economy is in good shape with their dollar remaining strong and Canadians are travelling in record numbers internationally. Now that Canadian visitors can fly direct rather than via the United States, New Zealand will be an even more attractive destination.
The non-stop air service from Vancouver cuts what was previously a 20 hour flight via a US gateway to a journey a little over 14 hours.
Currently some 47,000 Canadians visit New Zealand annually contributing an estimated NZ$160 million to the economy. Canadians tend to stay longer than the average visitor (14 days compared to 10), travel more widely and leave the country highly satisfied (98 per cent).*
From January 2008, Tourism New Zealands 100% Pure New Zealand campaign in Canada will promote travel in the April to May shoulder season, between the traditional height of summer and low of winter. The newly launched Canadian gateway from newzealand.com will support advertising, with travel information tailored specifically to the Canadian market.
In the months leading up to the launch of the new flight, Tourism New Zealand has run product buyer familiarisation trips to New Zealand, frontline training, and interactive, on-line webinars to help Canadian travel agents improve their knowledge and ability to sell the destination.
This new air service will dramatically increase the ability for the travel industry at either end of a route to expand product and selling opportunities, Mr Hickton says.
The direct link between Vancouver and New Zealand is an opportunity for all regions and tourism operators in New Zealand to build stronger ties with the Canada market.