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Major investors in the NZ tourism industry are keen on increasing airline services to stimulate a comeback in global visitors to NZ after a long lull due to the effects of the volatile economic situation. To this end, the NZ government announced a surplus $30 million for Tourism New Zealand’s (TNZ) marketing budget that now tops $100 million representing the highest ever budget the TNZ has ever had for the marketing of the country as “100% pure destination” for tourism.


Before the lull in the sector, tourism was a top exporter performer in New Zealand but falling earnings, about $9.3 billion in the year to March 2009 put it behind the Dairy industry with $9.9 billion. With the economic uncertainties currently rocking the European markets, TNZ and other small investors in the tourism industry like Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism are coming up with new investment plans. TNZ’s chief executive said that his biggest worry was New Zealand’s over reliance on its economically unviable airline industry, citing aviation connections to the country as the biggest macro challenge to the tourism industry.


Being a tremendously difficult airline industry, New Zealand’s simple geography means that it is at the end of some very long, thin air routes, he said. However, in hard economic times, partnerships like the TNZ’s regional tourism organization joint $10 million marketing campaign into Australia are becoming more common. Investment partnerships in the tourism industry have helped bolster the industry in the country with different tourist regions investing huge sums of cash into sector marketing.


To further bolster these investments in the tourism industry, competitive airports are as well working together to ensure that over 70% of international arrivals come through the northern hub through a joint co-operative venture between Queenstown and Auckland Airports. Various other airports are going into similar ventures, particularly in the country’s key tourist areas, to promote tourism and increase returns and investments.


Continental Airlines bolstered this position by announcing daily flights to the North Island from its Houston hub and to Auckland from November 2011 subject to government approval. The New Zealand government has been in active discussion with other airlines considering a venture into the country. It is in discussion with several countries about building greater air links with “open skies agreements” that will go a long way in boosting the tourism industry in the country.


June 1, 2010.