LOS ANGELES -- U.S. arrivals to New Zealand are showing
double-digit growth this year after five years of little or no
According to the New Zealand Tourism Board (NZTB), U.S. arrivals
rose 16% in both January and February, the peak summer months in
the Southern Hemisphere.
"This year, I believe we will return to steady, stable growth,"
said Gregg Anderson, the NZTB's country manager for the U.S. "The
U.S. economy is good, and we're finding Americans are experiencing
more of the country -- the lodges and small hotels, the treks, the
fishing and wildlife."
Low air fares, increased capacity and a strong U.S. dollar
should spur growth during the current soft season, he added.
Los Angeles-Auckland roundtrip fares recently dropped to $550, a
level not seen since the early 1990s. They normally would be in the
Anderson said add-on fares from interior cities dropped to $75
(normally $300 to $400).
In terms of capacity, Qantas has daily Los Angeles-Auckland
service; a year ago it had five flights a week.
In early 1997, it cost almost 70 cents to buy a New Zealand
dollar; now it costs about 55 cents, Anderson added.
Additionally, he said, New Zealand is seeing a boost in cruise
ship arrivals, as more vessels are being positioned in the South
Major events will focus attention on New Zealand in the next
several years, including the 44th annual World Cup of Golf, slated
for November in Auckland, and yachting's America's Cup, which
begins in Auckland in October 1999.
The U.S. ties with the U.K. as New Zealand's third-largest
market, after Australia and Japan. Last year, the 143,574 U.S.
visitors represented a 3% decline, following a 3% decline in
The country's total visitor count for 1997 -- 1.49 million --
was down 2%, with Australia and Japan also showing slight
"This year, the U.S. is obviously strong, Japan is static and
other Asian markets are down, especially Korea," Anderson said.
Among the NZTB's promotions this year will be a 16-page insert
in upcoming issues of consumer magazines.
The inserts are a joint effort of the NZTB, the Australian
Tourist Board, United, Air New Zealand and Ansett Australia. The
tourism board also launched a 12-page destination guide, a 40-page
product directory and a trade manual for agents. To obtain copies,
call the NZTB's mailing house at (800) 388-5494.