An increase in the number of buyers attending TRENZ 2012 from emerging visitor markets such as Malaysia, Russia and Indonesia is a positive trend, says the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA).
On in Queenstown 7-10 May, TRENZ is the New Zealand tourism industry's most important annual trade event. This year 314 of the world's most influential travel Buyers in terms of generating visitor arrivals to New Zealand are coming to talk business with the country's leading tourism operators.
"The presence of Buyers from key emerging markets is significant," says TIA Communications Manager Ann-Marie Johnson.
"It will help New Zealand tourism operators exhibiting at TRENZ gain a foothold in what could be potentially lucrative markets for the future. Countries such as Indonesia, Brazil and Russia have big populations, expanding economies and fast growing middle classes who are fuelling the demand for international travel.
"These emerging markets are also significant given the decline or stagnation in visitor arrivals from some of New Zealand's big traditional visitor markets such as the UK and USA," says Ms Johnson.
China is the largest and most mature of New Zealand's emerging visitor markets, with arrivals growing strongly in recent years.
"This is reflected in the 47 Buyers from China attending this year's TRENZ, up from 41 in 2011," says Ms Johnson.
Nine Malaysian Buyers are coming to this year's TRENZ, more than double the 2011 number.
"Malaysian visitor arrivals grew very strongly over the past year, increasing by almost 67% in the year ending February 2012 to 36,768, generated by economic growth and increased air links out of South East Asia," says Ms Johnson.
Glenn Wedlock, General Manager Aeronautical Business Development for Auckland Airport, says: "South East Asia, in particular Indonesia, is an up-and-coming region with great potential from a tourism perspective."
Visitor arrivals from Indonesia increased 22% in the year ending February 2012 to 11,824.
Seven Indonesian travel Buyers will attend TRENZ 2012, compared with none last year.
"Auckland Airport has been working with people in Indonesia, including New Zealand's Ambassador to Indonesia and to ASEAN, David Taylor, to garner insights into this economically important region so we can identify opportunities to promote New Zealand," says Mr Wedlock.
Ambassador Taylor will attend TRENZ to participate in the Auckland Airport International Speaker Series, which aims to give delegates insights to help them understand and target Asian travellers.
"We have also invited Farrah Quinn - Indonesia's MasterChef winner who has more than one million Facebook followers - to tour the country as part of Auckland Airport's programme to develop premium travel markets, and also speak at TRENZ about her experiences," says Mr Wedlock.
"She will be using her significant social media reach - a channel that certainly can't be underestimated in this market which has the highest number of Facebook users in Asia - as well as her celebrity status to advocate visiting New Zealand."
Three Russian Buyers will attend TRENZ, up from two in 2011.
"Given the distance from New Zealand and the lack of direct air flights, it is unlikely Russia will become a major source of visitor arrivals in the near future, but it could be a lucrative niche market for some sectors of our tourism industry," says Ms Johnson.
Statistics New Zealand figures show Russian visitor arrivals increased by 66% between 2007 and 2011 to 5112, with the majority holidaymakers.
"TRENZ is a fantastic opportunity for New Zealand operators to build relationships with Buyers from emerging markets and to attend workshops and presentations that will help them capture a bigger share of their outbound travel business."
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